GERB National Conference Starts under Tight Security, PM Borissov Ready to Leave at Any Point
August 5 (BTA) - The open-air National Conference of the
ruling GERB party was launched here on Wednesday under
heightened security measures and social tension in Sofia Tech
The event was attended by party members from across Bulgaria,
including MPs, ministers, municipal councillors, regional
governors and mayors. Anti-government protesters had blocked a
nearby crosswalk. There were clashes.
Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko Borissov told the
participants in the conference that he is ready to vacate his
position at any moment. He said he would discuss with GERB's
ruling coalition partners, the United Patriots, the possible
next steps for the government, and declared that GERB is not
afraid of a caretaker government, adding however, that they do
not trust President Rumen Radev and do not believe the elections
will be fair.
Borissov explained that it is also possible for him to leave,
and let someone else serve until the end of Cabinet's term,
adding that his future work will be focused on collaboration
with GERB's local chapters.
The Prime Minister said that he could announce the date of his
resignation right away, but he intends to have talks with GERB's
coalition partners to ensure the stability of this country in
the face of the difficult months that lie ahead.
Borissov went on to say that he does not want to be the divider
of the nation, adding that his party has signed a coalition
agreement to for Cabinet to serve out its term. He shared his
conviction that through its work, the ruling coalition has
foiled the schemes of numerous smugglers and oligarchs.
GERB's leader said that his party has never formed a coalition
with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms or with the
Socialists, nor will it ever do so, explaining that GERB's only
acceptable partners are the current ones: the United Patriots
and the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF).
In his speech, Borissov addressed once again the corruption of
which the protesters are accusing the incumbents, citing figures
according to which contraband rates in Bulgaria are currently
under 3 per cent.
The Prime Minister said that nothing is better than a democracy
where people are free to express their will, but he also called
on his audience to avoid provocations. Shouts to resign and
booing could be heard during his speech.
Borissov pointed out the motorways constructed by the
incumbents, and remarked that had they not come into power, the
protesters would not have had motorways to block or a metro to
tinker with. He added that part of the third line of Sofia's
metro will be ready within days.
Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the IMRO party, which is
part of the United Patriots, Krassimir Karakachanov, said that
the priorities are clear: the date of the elections is set by
the Constitution; until then, there is work to do.
He said that some of the people who want to govern Bulgaria
again, have for over 20 years sacrificed the state for the sake
of their own interests, and today they are ready to plunge this
country back into chaos just to be in power.
MEP Andrey Novakov, member of GERB, said that "it is time we
raised our heads, not our fists" and added that Bulgaria is a
Garden of Eden that needs a lot of work.
Razgrad Regional Governor Gyunai Hyusmen stated that Bulgaria
has a legitimately elected Prime Minister, his name is Boyko
Borissov, and he has been "doing all the donkey work" for 20
Yuxel Ahmed, Mayor of the northeastern town of Dulovo for a
third consecutive term, refuted the allegations that he has
behind-the-scenes agreements with the MRF, pointing out that the
elections in Dulovo prove that.
UDF Chair Rumen Hristov said that the upcoming elections must be
won by the Right-wing.
Kalin Kamenov, Mayor of the northwestern city of Vratsa and
moderator of the event, called on GERB members and supporters to
be brave, responsible and united.
Meanwhile, there were clashes between protesters and GERB
supporters, and videos were published showing a journalist of
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty being assaulted. In an official
statement to the media, GERB condemned the actions of the group
of provocateurs that caused tensions to rise. According to the
police, there were about 50 protesters around the conference
After the event, party representatives declared in a statement
that GERB members and supporters demonstrated their peaceful
intentions during the entire conference, and did not provoke any
aggression. Unfortunately, there were paid provocateurs who
breached the forum security to harass GERB members, protesters
and journalists alike, the statement said. The party insists
that the investigating bodies establish all facts and
circumstances surrounding these incidents, and that the
perpetrators be brought to justice. RY/MT