Bulgarian President signs decree dismissing Interior Ministry chief

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev signed on April 10 a decree dismissing Zhivko Kotsev as Interior Ministry chief secretary, a day after the step was requested by the Dimitar Glavchev caretaker government – the first decision by the interim administration on taking office.

The caretaker government cited as the basis for seeking Kotsev’s dismissal a clause of the Interior Ministry Act that says that the chief secretary’s powers are terminated in the event of serious misconduct or systematic failure to fulfill official duties, as well as actions that harm the prestige of the ministry.

Kotsev, who has held various executive positions in the ministry since 1991, was appointed its chief secretary in September 2023.

He has been embroiled in controversy over alleged links to individuals facing organised crime charges.

Photographs have emerged on social media showing Kotsev in the company of some of the accused.

Kotsev submitted his resignation on April 4, but withdrew it only a day later, saying that he had been subjected to strong moral and psychological pressure to step down.

Those alleged to have pressured Kotsev include acting Prosecutor-General Borislav Sarafov, Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov – who, controversially, has kept that portfolio in the caretaker government – as well as other officials.

Just before leaving office, now-former prime minister Nikolai Denkov referred the matter of the alleged pressure on Kotsev to a special prosecutor. According to Kotsev, he was told that unless he submitted his resignation, serious crime charges would be lodged against him.

(Photo of Kotsev: government.bg)

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