The parliamentary leader of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, has responded to protests about the fuel price by saying that the government had no role in deciding the price, and adding that he saw the protests as an attempt to destabilise the country.
Tsvetanov was speaking on November 12, the day after traffic on some of Bulgaria’s motorways and major thoroughfares in cities was blocked by protesters’ cars, in some cases for several hours.
Addressing a briefing after a meeting of the governing parties’ coalition council, Tsvetanov said that the fuel price was not shaped by the government, but by the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, which was independent of the Cabinet. In turn, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov clarified that the energy regulator did not decide the price of fuel.
Tsvetanov said that the protests on November 11 had seen attempts at provocation, were a political action to destablise the country and had meant stress for small children who were passengers in the cars stranded on the roads.
He said that the coalition council had been able to talk about everything going on in Bulgaria and several trends in these events that were aimed at destabilisation of the country.
The protests were organised on social networks, and were more disruptive than earlier protests on the same issue in late October. Participants told reporters that they were seeking the resignation of the government, and would resume the fuel price protests on November 17.
In recent months, there has been an increasing number of comments in some political circles and media about rising cost of living in Bulgaria. In February 2013, an earlier government headed by Borissov was brought down by protests mobilised around cost of living issues. At the time, Borissov stepped down after there was an incident of violence in the protests in Sofia.