Bulgarian Rightists Slam Ruling Allies, Snub Opposition

Domestic | September 5, 2010, Sunday // 12:21|  views

Blue Coalition Co-Chairs Kostov (front) and Dimitrov (back) remain critical of the Borisov government. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Borisov government of the GERB party has been criticized by both co-leaders of its ally, the rightist Blue Coalition, who have predicted a very rough economic situation in 2011.

One of the Blue co-chairs, the leader of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party Ivan Kostov, pointed out that the Bulgarian economy has been in recession for 20 months, and there were no indications the economic crisis was going away.

He believes the government's hopes to start registering positive economic growth by the end of 2010 will not materialize.

"Finance Minister Simeon Djankov is facing a huge challenge. We all hope that he will succeed. Yet, GERB had some kind of anti-crisis program but it was not realized. GERB expects that the crisis will somehow be overcome naturally," Kostov declared speaking on the BNR on Sunday.

He explicitly focused on the health care system demanding that Prime Minister Borisov hold his predecessor Sergey Stanishev accountable for the alleged disappearing of BGN 400 M from the reserve of the National Health Insurance Fund, which is said to have declined from BGN 760 M to BGN 360 M. He urged Borisov to prevent the spending of the reserve.

Kostov made it clear the Blue Coalition had no intention of supporting the draft legislation of the ruling party for the establishing of special anti-mafia tribunals.

He also said there was no way the rightists will be involved in talks for a no confidence vote of the government with the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and the ethnic Turkish party DPS – despite the calls of the latter two parties.

"This will be the hardest political season for GERB, and the party and its ministers must get down to work rather than relying only on media coverage," Kostov stated.

He explained the metaphor that he used by comparing the Bulgarian economy to a bear that is hibernating was also supposed to symbolize the growth of the gray economy.

Speaking shortly before Kostov, his close partner, the other Co-Chair of the Blue Coalition, and leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, Martin Dimitrov, also expressed concerns about the gray economy.

He lauded the increased recent activity of the National Revenue Agency but said that the government will fail anyway to reach the parameters of the revised state budget by the end of 2010.

"Our predictions are that 2011 will be extremely difficult keeping in mind the fact that there will be local and presidential elections, which will create additional expenses and will worsen the deficit. The gray economy will also grow in 2011," Dimitrov stated.

He slammed the projects for constructing a National Sports Arena in Sofia, a Formula 1 racetrack, and a Bulgarian Louvre seeing them as too expensive and unnecessarily for the struggling state budget. In his words, such projects are put forth by various interested groups, and the Finance Minister must reject them.

Not unlike Kostov, Dimitrov dismissed the invitation of the opposition Socialists for a meeting for a no confidence vote called them "the people who are responsible for enormous political corruption in Bulgaria."

The Blue Coalition has 14 MPs; it is an informal partner of the GERB party with its 117 MPs out of a total of 240, as is the nationalist party Ataka with its 21 MPs.

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Tags: Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, Union of Democratic Forces, Martin Dimitrov, Ivan Kostov, GERB, Ataka, BSP, DPS, no confidence vote, gray economy, budget deficit, Simeon Djankov, finance minister


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