Bulgarian PM, facing anti-government protests, says ‘time for a decision’

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, facing more than a month of protests demanding the resignation of his government, posted on Facebook on August 9 that it was “time for a decision”.

Borissov posted on Facebook, on the 32nd day of protests demanding the resignation of his government and of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, a photograph of himself with his two grandchildren.

Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said that it understood that Borissov had ordered the police not to intervene to remove road blockades erected by anti-government protesters.

Tent camps that for several days were in place in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, as well as in Plovdiv and Varna, were dismantled by police in the early hours of August 7.

In Sofia, protesters put them back, while in Varna, they also were re-erected, though on the pavement outside the GERB-controlled municipal headquarters, without obstructing traffic.

Borissov, in a Facebook post referring to his grandchildren and the broader situation in Bulgaria, said: “Home is where they smile. It is always good to talk to a child, the best decisions come from them. Time for their smiles and my decisions”.

Sunday saw various protest events, including a motorcade to a border checkpoint and a bicycle procession to another border checkpoint.

In Sofia, in what was hardly the first such incident, anti-government protesters threw eggs and tomatoes at the Cabinet building.

The current coalition government that took office in 2017 is the third that Borissov has headed as Prime Minister. His first two cabinets left office ahead of term as he submitted his resignation to Parliament, only, respectively, to return at the head of a new government.

This past week, Borissov said that he was floating the idea with his ultra-nationalist minority partners in the government coalition the idea that he would step down as PM but the government would serve out its full term, to scheduled parliamentary elections in spring 2021.

However, the following day, a leader of one of the ultra-nationalist parties said that it had been decided that Borissov would remain in office as Prime Minister and the coalition government would serve out its full term.

In any case, Borissov’s mooting of stepping down from government while leaving his coalition Cabinet in place was given short shrift by protesters.

The more reliable recent polls suggest that, albeit weakened, Borissov’s GERB party would get the largest share of votes in an election, but would face a challenge in constructing a coalition with sufficient support in the National Assemby to be able to govern.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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