Bloomberg News

Bulgarian President Criticizes Lawmakers for Security Chief Vote

June 14, 2013

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev called on Parliament to reconsider the appointment of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security on grounds the nomination was nontransparent.

Peevski, 33, a lawmaker from the ethnic Turk Movement of Rights and Freedoms, Prime Minister Oresharski’s Cabinet junior coalition partner, was approved in a 114-10 vote with one abstention, today. Peevski served as deputy minister of emergencies in charge of state reserve supplies in 2007 in the Socialist-led government of ex-Premier Sergei Stanishev. He was fired amid an investigation into extortion and abuse of power. The investigation was inconclusive. Peevski denied wrongdoing.

“It is inadmissible for the leader of one of the most important services in the country to be nominated, discussed and appointed in 15 minutes without any debate, any proposed frame of reference, any substantiation,” Plevneliev said in a live television broadcast in Sofia today. “My credit of confidence has ended. I insist Parliament immediately revises its decision.”

The European Union has repeatedly criticized Bulgaria for insufficient efforts to fight corruption and organized crime, urging the Balkan country to investigate graft among senior government officials. Oresharski’s predecessor, Boyko Borissov, resigned amid protests against corruption and high utility bills on Feb. 20 and failed to win an outright majority in May 12 early elections, opening the way for the second-place party, the Socialists, to form a coalition.

Interests, Protests

Peevski has interests in a dozen national newspapers, two television stations and businesses ranging from telecommunications and tobacco to automotive industries, Capital newspaper reported today, citing unidentified people.

“I will dutifully serve my country and the people,” Peevski said in parliament today.

Opponents of Peevski’s appointment as security chief called for nationwide protests to be held tonight and collected about 30,000 supporters on Facebook.

“This practically is a coup d’etat,” Ognian Minchev, a political analyst and chairman of the Bulgarian unit of Transparency International, said by phone. “He represents corporate and media conglomerates and their political lobbies directly involved with imposing foreign aggressive interests in Bulgaria.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova in Sofia at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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