United Patriots Hold Coalition Council, Won't Demand Deputy PM Simeonov's Resignation
112 POLITICS-DEPUTY PM SIMEONOV-UNITED PATRIOTS-COUNCIL Amp.
United Patriots Hold Coalition Council,
Won't Demand Deputy PM Simeonov's
Sofia, October 23 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov will not be resigning, it transpired from the power-sharing United Patriots' coalition council, held on Wednesday amidst a scandal involving Simeonov's recent disparaging remarks about the protesting mothers of disabled children, which he described as "loud women with allegedly sick children". The Deputy Prime Minister's remarks triggered protests and sharp reactions, including demands for his resignation.
The council was attended by the leaders of the IMRO and NFSB parties, Krassimir Karakachanov and Valeri Simeonov, but not by Ataka leader Volen Siderov, who is the third partner in the United Patriots coalition. Siderov said on a social media platform that there is no sense for him to attend the coalition council, given that six days ago NFSB lifted their confidence from him as the United Patriots floor leader, while IMRO did not issue a position, meaning they agree with NFSB.
Karakachanov told journalists after the meeting that Simeonov did not mean to offend the protesting mothers. "Mr. Simeonov should be more careful when choosing his words," Karakachanov commented.
The IMRO leader believes that the resignation of a deputy prime minister would topple the Government, which is not a solution, given the possibility that the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms may return to power. According to Karakachanov, getting rid of NFSB would mean that the Government will have to count on Vesselin Mareshki's Volya party, which is not an option. "If things come to that, we are leaving too," he commented. "What is more important to me is that the Government is doing its job," Karakachanov argued. He admitted that there are serious problems with the communication within the United Patriots coalition. Simeonov commented by saying that the coalition agreement has not been breached, despite the serious differences. "We will be making efforts in the future to get together and solve our problems," he said.
"The criticism is not aimed at the children, I am not a beast, I can very well see what kind of children they are," Simeonov commented his remarks. He explained that he did not mean that the children are pretending [to be sick]. Their mothers say they are sick, but keep them out in the sun, in the rain and in the cold, which is not normal, he said. Simeonov further noted that he sees no reason to apologize for his remarks, adding that the protesting mothers' demands have been met.
Karakachanov noted that the mothers' protest was politically exploited from the very start.
Commenting the situation after a meeting with representatives of the Bulgarian Construction Chamber on Tuesday, BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said her party has demanded that Simeonov's hearing is the first item on Parliament's agenda on Wednesday.
According to her, the insinuation that the Government's whole construct and the State's future depend on Simeonov's resignation is an expression of utter powerlessness.
Ninova said that from now on her party is promptly starting to organize itself and prepare for early elections, but decline to commit to any deadlines.
Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov used the media earlier on Tuesday to ask the organizers of a protest in his support, scheduled for Wednesday, not to hold it.
He explained that he had received support from employers' organizations and trade associations, such as a national homebrew organization, a farmers' association, automobile associations and some of the employers' organizations in Bulgaria, including the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Industrial Association.
Simeonov explained he feels confident in what he does and does not believe that pressure from the streets should be exerted on the coalition or other partners.
Simeonov's disparaging words sparked strong reactions from various directions. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov apologized on Monday from Cabinet's name for Simeonov's words, but said he does not plan on demanding his resignation, because the government would fall. Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova in turn criticized Borissov, describing his words as being "even more cynical than Simeonov's". Speaking to university students on Tuesday, President Rumen Radev commented that "uncontrolled power leads to cynicism, and with cynicism there cannot be an effective