The leader of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party parliamentary group says that President Roumen Radev is “jealous” of Borissov’s foreign policy achievements and goes on personal attacks against him because he has no arguments.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov made the remarks in a February 20 television interview, a few days after an acrimonious exchange between Radev and Borissov.
Radev, speaking to reporters on February 15, lashed out at Borissov on a number of counts, including raising the question whether the Prime Minister had business ties and covert meetings with controversial Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Delyan Peevski.
Radev’s comments were a response to Borissov seeking to link the President’s office to Peevski. Following Radev’s invective, Borissov accused the President of a “treacherous” attack on the government.
Tsvetanov, a frequent harsh critic of Radev, said in an interview with bTV that allegations of a business relationship between Borissov and Peevski were “untenable”.
The GERB parliamentary group leader said that Radev was worried about promises that he had made and not kept.
Tsvetanov asked why Radev did not speak about Elena Yoncheva – an MP for the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and formerly an adviser to Radev – who, according to Tsvetanov, had drained Corporate Commercial Bank with a person closely tied to Tsvetan Vassilev. (Update: Yoncheva subsequently said that she would take court action against Tsvetanov for defamation in regard to this comment).
Before its collapse, Corporate Commercial Bank was Bulgaria’s fourth-largest lender. Majority owner Vassilev currently is the subject of an application by Bulgaria to Serbia to extradite him to face numerous serious charges. Vassilev denies wrongdoing.
Tsvetanov said that he had been observing Radev very carefully, and saw him as “worried and perhaps seeking confrontation, he cannot fulfil the commitments he has made”.
Asked to respond to comments by Volen Siderov, leader of the United Patriots parliamentary group, that Tsvetanov would be guilty if the government fell because GERB tried to force through the Istanbul Convention, Tsvetanov said that he had a “high threshold of tolerance” and it was important to him to maintain the parliamentary majority.
An international instrument directed against domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention has been the subject of an active campaign against it in Bulgaria by conservative and nationalist forces. The United Patriots have warned that should Borissov’s GERB try to get it ratified by Parliament, the coalition government could fall, precipitating early elections.