At his inauguration ceremony on January 22, Bulgarian President Roumen Radev pledged to work with Parliament, the government, institutions, civil society and citizens to find solutions for Bulgaria.
In a brief speech, Radev – referring to the surrounds in central Sofia where his inauguration ceremony was held, a place replete with religious and military symbolism – said that in such a place, “a person most clearly realises the responsibility to be head of a state with deep European roots, defending our freedom and future at the crossroads of history”.
Radev thanked his four predecessors as President in their efforts to build a democratic Bulgaria.
A former air force commander with the rank of general, Radev – who as President is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but not head of government – paid tribute to Bulgaria’s military that “for 13 centuries defended our statehood, freedom and dignity”.
He said that the inauguration ceremony was an expression of continuity, “without which there is no way to build statehood”.
“Let us build a fairer society, based on law and morality, freedom and solidarity. A society that is not hostage to the past, but a creator of the future.”
Radev said that he would be “President of all, regardless of ethnicity and religion”.
He said that he would work with Parliament, government, institutions, parties, NGOs and citizens to find solutions for Bulgaria, and would work with “our partners towards accelerated integration”.
“But I will be President who will uncompromisingly defend the rights, interests and dignity of the people,” Radev said.
In a taped interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television shown on the morning of his inauguration, Radev said that he would rely on experts in appointing the caretaker cabinet.
The appointment of a caretaker government will be one of Radev’s first tasks, as Bulgaria heads towards early parliamentary elections in the spring.
Radev told BNT that he would not encroach on the functions of the Prime Minister.
He said that he wanted the caretaker cabinet that he would appoint to lead Bulgaria in the really difficult few months until the next legitimately elected government. “So I will rely on experts”.
He said that the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which backed him in Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections, in no way affected his choice of caretaker government but it did not mean he was barred from appointing people from the left.
“In any case I have no ambition to interfere in the work of any government, but the President on his authority has the right to ask questions, has the right to insist that the policy of the government should move in a direction that is in the interest of Bulgarian citizens,” Radev said, while reiterating “I have no ambition to take over the function of the Prime Minister”.