Bulgarian PM Borissov vows Simeonov controversy should not bring down government

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on October 22 that he would not force United Patriots co-leader Valeri Simeonov to resign as Deputy Prime Minister because that would “ruin the whole structure” and bring down the government.

Borissov was speaking to journalists while on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, as a political melodrama played out in Bulgaria, with the latest day of infighting in government minority partner the United Patriots, and with Simeonov targeted in public protests demanding his resignation.

On October 22, Ataka leader Volen Siderov – routinely at loggerheads with his United Patriots co-leader Simeonov – demanded that by the end of the day, the government coalition council meet to discuss Ataka’s demand for Simeonov to quit as Deputy PM.

Acknowledging that Borissov was out of the country, Siderov said that Borissov could join in a conference call.

Borissov told reporters that it was solely up to the United Patriots to decide whether Simeonov should resign. The Prime Minister said that if he forced out Simeonov, he would be violating the coalition agreement.

“It is more complicated than it seems, but my own decision would have no legal value. I understand that there is a lot of tension between Volen Siderov and Valeri Simeonov, but they have to resolve their relations internally,” Borissov said.

Borissov said that he had already expressed his indignation at the comments by Simeonov that led to the protests against him in Sofia and other cities on October 22, after Simeonov derided protesting mothers of children with disabilities as “shrill women” exploiting their “supposedly ill” children for political and commercial aims.

“What do you want me to do, resign myself, instead of Valeri Simeonov, and throw the country into severe chaos? That won’t happen,” Borissov said.

“I grit my teeth and do my job, and I think I’m doing it well, considering what the country’s indicators are and how we are received externally,” he said.

Responding to a reporter who said that Siderov wanted a conference call, Borissov replied tersely: “I have a phone, let him call me”.



The Sofia Globe staff

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