Borissov’s GERB lost the election and is now also losing the rear-guard battles in desperate effort to return to power, as a matter of life or death.
Immediately after its defeat, GERB mobilized citizens with street demonstrations against the legitimately elected socialist coalition, claiming that the …people did not like the appointment of the National Security Advisor. The appointment was the political prerogative of the government, but GERB used the fact that the appointee was a successful media leader, to say that he was not wanted by the people.
Despite, however, the National Security Advisor resigning the day after the appointment, GERB managed to swiftly transform the demonstrations against the “oligarchs” of the country. This was a typical communist-type propaganda approach, which did not succeed as all Bulgarians know that it was oligarchs under the “GERB” protection that benefitted either from tenders offered by the State or by other machinations based on GERB patronage.
One typical example is that of an oligarch that is known to have bought cheap land.Then she got
all necessary permits for alternative energy parks, based solely on her connections with the Borissov government. Following that, she would sell the projects to foreign investors, thus making a lot of money, (it is estimated that she made a profit of 150 million Euros), her only investment being the cultivation of the right connections around the GERB government who were also benefitting from the looting of the State companies privatized by the Borrissov Government..
The destruction of the country was very much helped by the appointment as Economy minister of Symeon Djianlov, a Bulgarian-American brought from the United States by Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva to …save the country.
Immediately after the election was lost by GERB the Commissioner from Bulgaria, in order to secure a second mandate jointed the efforts to force the elected coalition out of power. In this context her “system” began lobbying in Brussels for Boyko Borissov and Tsvetan Tsvetanov the (former Interior minister charged now for crimes involving telephone bugging). Yet unsuccessfully, as she could not convince Brussels to boycott the legitimately elected coalition in order to bring back to power the oligarchs of GERB.
The situation in Bulgaria, is now in course of normalization and GERB is on the course of change. A large number of Members of the GERB Parliamentary group are considering abandoning the party and declare independence, as they do not accept the leadership of Borissov-Tsvetanov, anymore. Indeed, most GERB elected Members of Parliament are not related to mafia mentalities or any of the oligarchs of the inner Borissov-Tsvetanov circle.
As for now, the attention in Bulgaria is turning to the role of President Rosen Plevneliev and his possible impeachment is not ruled out, since he openly supported the return of Boyko Borissov to power with non-democratic procedures.
We reprint below, a (translated) article by the well known Bulgarian Journalist, Yavor Dachkov for our readers to get a first hand idea of the role of President Rosen Plevneliev in the Bulgarian crisis.
By Yavor Dachkov
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev tried to strike a strong ‘upper c’, but the only thing he produced was a falsetto that directly revealed the interests of an oligarchy that has lost ground after Prime Minister Boyko Borisov fell from power.
Initially, Plevneliev’s speech received a positive response on Facebook, being for the most part composed of postings from the social media site over the last three weeks. The president’s team had tried to make a collage of the most successful and beautiful soundings, and even calls for civil awakening, a true democracy, led by the hundreds of thousands of users on the social network. There is nothing bad in someone else writing the president’s speeches; the problem is that the president himself was missing from it.
In fact, he has been missing since appointed to the post by Boyko Borisov, but on Friday afternoon (5 July) he reached a peak in inadequacy, far higher than the famous mountains in Colorado, which he used to praise Bulgarian nature.
The head of state spoke as if one of the protesters. His words were more suitable for a speech of an awakening citizen, rather than for a politician with a five-year mandate at the top of government; the government of Boyko Borisov. I’ll say it the way I see it: Plevneliev was head of the most mafia government of the SIC (Security Insurance Company, believed to be a criminal organisation), we’ve seen over the last 20 years. To talk today about the just demands of the citizens against the mafia is a manifestation of extreme insolence. As he referred to politicians who “turned a blind eye to people’s protests”, it is worth remembering that for a year while holding the post of president, he turned a blind eye to the crimes of Borisov, Tsvetanov, to smuggling, drug trafficking and the appalling theft carried out by GERB, which treated Bulgaria as its feudal property.
This makes his moral claims absolutely untenable. Something more: He is a big part of the problem, not the solution.
Protesters are on the streets today because he was silent yesterday.
One of the roles of head of state is to be a spokesman and defender of civil interests. Despite his limited power, the president has enormous competence to direct attention to important national issues, because he is directly elected by the Bulgarian citizens, and his words can be a strong enough corrective even to the most negligent executive. In that sense, his silence before the huge outrages of Borisov’s government should be seen as complicity. I will draw your attention to a single recent case.
The Records which AFERA published in relation to the so-called “puppet master of the judiciary”, former prosecutor and current member of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Kamen Sitnilski, reveal how terrible, criminal while at the same time primitive, is the way in which bandits elect bandits for membership of the SJC. This special case shows how alarming and hopeless the judiciary is in its present condition, for which Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Boyko Borisov and the government, in which Plevneliev was a minister, have a big contribution.
Of course, what is meant here is not only the special case of Sitnilski, but all the outrages that occurred over recent years. This exemplary case is relevant because one of the major reasons for the ongoing protests is the desperate sense of injustice and the disgust people feel from compliance of the mafia with the state.
So Plevneliev as president could not raise this issue? Could not raise a sharp public debate and ask all the dirt to come out?
It is easy to throw out generalities about the beautiful, the good and the eternal. It is difficult to prove by deeds that one stands behind them. If he were a real politician and a president of action, not of somebody else’s elegant sentences, Plevneliev could have proved himself.
Today, nevertheless, he has he tried to mount the protest, but has done it so without skill that from now on any request for his resignation can be fully justified. The thing is that the president is not just an ordinary jester that continues to simulate the posture of suddenly befell him institutionalisation, but an activated political blade of a part of the oligarchy currently fighting for territory with another part. Even worse; he is obviously politically engaged with GERB and personally with Boyko Borisov, as his redundant calls for new elections under the Electoral Code of Fidossova, serve mainly the interests of GERB.
By the way, one of the details in his speech which unmasks him, exposing him to play a role and not speak authentically, was that he did not have the courage to say bluntly we need early elections.
He gave the message so timidly that newspapers close to the oligarchy, like Dnevnik for example, had to orient journalists to what is news and what should be displayed in the title: Plevneliev supports early elections. This was the first title they put, I guess from haste, because it was then slightly corrected, mitigating the strength of the message.
In the president’s speech there was no specific call in it that says the outcome of the crisis is early election. Moreover, he did not even have the courage to say clearly and categorically that at the moment there is a political crisis in Bulgaria. Even his PRs have realised that there is no such crisis. The fact that 5, 10 or 20 thousand people went out to protest for three weeks does not automatically mean that the government has lost support and the parliament should be dissolved. This is an obvious nonsense, because according to this logic in Europe, and all Western-style democracies, elections should be held every two or three months. That the parliament cannot work full time sometimes is due to the absolutely scandalous absence of GERB during its sessions, and if he truly cared about democracy, Plevneliev would have urged his former colleagues to return to parliament, because this is the only way a democratic system can operate.
I’m tired of repeating this example, but will say it once again. In the Autumn of 2007, teachers in Bulgaria were striking effectively for two months, and made the biggest trade union protest for a hundred years. The beginning of the school year was ruined and for about a month thousands of teachers marched through the city centre every day, with their number reaching 70, 000 at its peak. They closed the main streets of the city during working hours for more than a month, but no one interpreted this as a loss of legitimacy for the government and a need for early elections.
But why should we go that far back? In February hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Bulgaria, and today protesters are located only in Sofia and their number progressively decreases every single day.
This is not an attempt to oppose the protesters or to belittle their grounds for protest. However, I cannot agree with the oligarchy theory, planted by the media, that the protests are a sign of the illegitimacy of this parliament. The government has a solid parliamentary majority to see its entire term of office to the end, and what makes it unstable is the attempt of oligarchs who lost their positions to get them back through the protesters.
The fact that people who are on the streets have no political representation in parliament is largely due to them. Those who think right (this is a very arbitrary term, but I use it for convenience), who went to the polls, have not been sufficient to put any of the successors of the “old right” in the National Assembly. But this does not de-legitimise others who have managed to pass the threshold. And one more essential thing: Plevneliev bears a huge part of the responsibility for the serious falsification of votes. He formed a caretaker government whose main task was to organise early elections in May. The result is clear and has been officially announced. Controlled vote – 18% and 5% bought votes – is a big enough reason Plevneliev to never again form an interim government and to organise early elections.
Actually he and Marin Raykov played one of the most vile roles in recent Bulgarian history. They organised the unpunished escape of Boyko Borisov and his gang from power, while still today Plevneliev tries to get them back in. The same thing happened in the 90s when Zhelev and Lukanov were negotiating the peaceful transition, and all those naive enough to dream of democracy out on the streets, were put to sleep with the same rhetoric and supposedly principled moral positions we still listen to today.
The huge weakness of today’s protests is that they do not seek specific responsibility for specific crimes. They allowed for Borisov and Tsvetanov to hide. And yet another criminal Bulgarian government is to go unpunished. The question “where were you in the last four years?” irritates most of the protesters, but it is quite reasonable to ask, and they have no answer to it.
Plevneliev is active now not by coincidence. The protests began to lose their sharpness, the protesters themselves are internally divided with respect to their specific goals and demands, and with the advance of summer Sofia becomes depopulated. The television events covering the protests have started to be emphasised, while the protests themselves definitely started to annoy those who do not participate in them. The patience of Sofia residents also began to run out, because they see what television does not show, namely a dozen cute young people, close “Orlov most” to drink beer or just have fun, something that cannot just happen in Berlin, in London, and I guess also in Bucharest.
The protests increasingly resemble a city tour, organised with the courtesy of the Sofia municipality, that closes the streets and have nothing to do with what we saw in Istanbul or Brazil.
Here, I will make a small detour and say that Facebook and the Internet is not a good counsellor in Bulgaria in terms of citizen participation. They produce narcissistic groups which see themselves as socially significant, but have no real weight, while the protests in Turkey awakened our local imagination and inferiority complex.
We remain an ersatz community. Our Oligarchs imitate the Russian ones, but do not have their scope. Our democracy is a façade. Our culture – amateur, but let’s not lose our focus.
Plevneliev was activated to bring people back on the street. The people whose interest he represent, namely Boyko Borisov, Tsvetelina Borislavova, the circle around businessman Ivo Prokopiev, felt that the enthusiasm dropped and are about to miss a golden opportunity that opens to them to return to power. As an irony, on the very day of the presidential speech, the protesters’ number was the lowest since May, and this still speaks of a civic maturity. The people did not want to be roused, especially since television tried to manipulate them and to present them as much different – associated with partisan interests.
Nobody, however, draw attention to a coincidence. The day that Plevneliev routed the political class and its close ties with the mafia, Plamen Oresharski announced a hole in the budget of half a billion leva, which, as much as the protesters want, and even Plevneliev wants, was not the work of Stanishev and the “red dirt”, but of the government of Boyko Borisov. Wasn’t Plevneliev supposed to comment on the issue when Borisov and Djankov toyed around with our exclusive financial stability? Or is this yet another example of a banal scenario that is being played at the moment; an official second term for those who outrageously stole from the state in the last four years, and for those who did not manage to save the elections in May?
Plevneliev’s statement has its good points. It should be made the juncture for more pointed questions for the president about his offshore deals and about his past as a businessman who had serious problems with the tax authorities. Think about it and you will see that it is yet another figure that have suddenly appeared in Bulgarian political life, about which we know almost nothing. His tearful words about “car parks” in Germany are not enough for a person occupying such a position as his. His commitment to Stoyan Mavrodiev, who in addition to his offshore deals, cared also for the offshore deals of a bunch of shady businessmen and politicians, also need to come out to get what Plevneliev himself called for: the whole truth about the links of the mafia with politics, and the breaking of this vicious union.
I will remind all those protesters who applauded Rosen Plevneliev that in the most obscurantist years of Tsvetanov’s phone-tapping, tracking and all the other crimes that this man did, the “nice chap Rosencho”, in his capacity as minister, came out and said that he had nothing against being tapped. These are the words of a rotter, not of a convinced democrat.