President Slams Government on Several Points, GERB Say He Is Waging a Political War


President Slams Government on Several Points,
GERB Say He Is Waging
a Political War

Varna, on the Black Sea, August 12 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev, who was in Varna on Sunday for the holiday of the Bulgarian Navy, spoke to the media about a range of issues, criticizing the government on several points. His remarks led Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov to conclude that the President is waging a political war against the ruling GERB party.

Radev accused the executive government of failing to react adequately to Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's observation in a recent televised interview that the 1903 Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising was "a Macedonian uprising." Radev said he has not heard an apology from Zaev about it. What the Macedonian Prime Minister wrote on Facebook was that he had made a mistake but he did not correct his statement, Radev argued. "What was written in the social media was not an apology," he said.

Radev further noted: "It is inadmissible and unacceptable that the Euro-Atlantic perspective of Macedonia should come at the expense of Bulgarian history, identity and sovereignty. Bulgaria's long-term interests should not fall victim to transient political publicity."

He expects the Bulgarian government to set clear parameters for relations with Macedonia. "We have every reason to push for an annex to our Good-neighbourliness Treaty [with Macedonia] and to include provisions from that Treaty into the negotiation process for Macedonia's accession to the EU," he said.

Taking a journalist's question, the President said a campaign is going on to "stitch together" alleged drug lord Dimiter Zhelyazkov and the former caretaker government. Radev recalled that Zhelyazkov, who is waiting in Istanbul to see whether he will be extradited to Bulgaria, has been in the news for years and his apparent crimes would have been impossible without a protective government umbrella.

"Those who signed the contracts with Zhelyazkov were administrators appointed by the GERB party in the customs system, who were subsequently left in their positions by the caretaker government," the President said. According to him, the contracts with Zhelyazkov were planned and signed by administrators appointed by the second cabinet of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (November 2014 - January 2017). "There was an outcry that the caretaker government was removing high-ranking administrators from some departments, but now it turns out that the only sin of the caretaker cabinet was that it left all the others untouched. The conclusion is clear: next time get everyone out!" Radev reasoned.

He said some of the reactions to the news that Bourgas Municipal Councillor Bencho Benchev was covering up for Zhelyazkov were an attempt to put the blame on innocent people. In connection with media allegations, Radev noted that Benchev's name is absent from the reports on his own presidential campaign, which are published on the official website of the National Audit Office.

Discussing yet another matter, Radev urged the executive government to make an unequivocal decision about a controversial public procurement procedure of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency for the supply of testers for ovine rinderpest. He said the controversy is symptomatic of problems in many agencies and institutions.

Reacting to the President's remarks, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said in Varna: "If the head of state has decided to wage a political war against the GERB party, he has the right to do that, but I do not accept his attack on experts who have ensured the country's financial stability not just in the last few years but throughout the [post-1989] Transition Period. I do not accept attacks against the state administration, least of all against the experts in the Finance Ministry and the Customs Agency."

Asked whether there is a political umbrella over Zhelyazkov, Goranov said: "This is probably true because that man has been sentenced and there is much information against him. The President should say who is protecting Zhelyazkov." The Finance Minister recalled that it was the GERB government that got Zhelyazkov arrested with the assistance of the Turkish authorities, which led to the scandal about the Bulgarian Socialist Party chapter in Bourgas.

Reacting to another accusation by the President, Goranov said: "We are the first government to set aside billions of leva for the modernization of the Armed Forces." He said the project for building ships for the Navy was delayed because the company which was supposed to build them pulled out at the last minute late in 2017.

Discussing the President's accusation about Macedonia, Deputy Foreign Minister George Georgiev stated: "Bulgaria's policy towards Macedonia protects our national dignity and defends our interests while also lending a hand to a country with which we have a Good-neighbourliness Treaty." LI/VE