Bulgarian Socialist Leader Admits Fault for Appointment of Scandalous National Security Chief

Domestic | June 16, 2013, Sunday // 19:33|  views

BSP leader Sergey Stanishev, photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev has admitted to making a political mistake with the appointment of media tycoon Delyan Peevski as head of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS).

In a Sunday interview for private TV station bTV, Stanishev acknowledged that the underestimated social discontent over the nomination had been his fault.

At the same time, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) made clear that he had no plans to resign, despite the mounting pressure within the ranks of the left-wing party.

"I am not going to resign because I have a cause to pursue and it is not over yet. Our country needs a sweeping change because over the past four years it was taken over by the mafia. The senior members of GERB abused the state and turned it into their property," he stated.

Despite admitting the blunder with Peevski's appointment, Stanishev argued that the MP of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party (DPS) had the right qualities to run DANS.

"In a month or two, he would have proved that he was working for the interests of the state. I saw that he had undergone a very deep transformation, I saw an unmistakable decisiveness in him," the leader of BSP and President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) reasoned, adding that if Peevski's nomination had been announced in advance, the reaction against him would have been even stronger because it would have been inspired by Boiko Borisov's center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB).

The socialist leader claimed that the nomination of Peevski for the post of national security chief had been a "joint decision", not an initiative of DPS only.

He was adamant that the recent changes to the State National Security Agency Act had not been adopted so as to pave the way for Peevski's appointment.

Stanishev went on to say that he respected spontaneous demonstrations, adding that each citizen had the right to protest democratically and to expect a response from the state on their demands.

He argued, however, that the actual reason behind the ongoing rallies and the protests which toppled the center-right GERB government in February was the fact that "something is amiss with the way in which the state functions – all too often it fails to defend the interests of citizens in order to cater to somebody's economic or political needs."

Stressing that BSP MPs had come under pressure, Stanishev noted that that BSP had to stop GERB's plan to destabilize the country and to oppose the desperate attempts of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov to return to power to "erase their tracks."

On Friday, Bulgaria's Parliament appointed Delyan Peevski, media mogul and MP of ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), as head of DANS, stirring a wave of protests across the country.

The step caused President Rosen Plevneliev to ask Parliament to reconsider the decision.

Plevneliev also scheduled an extraordinary meeting of the Consultative Council for National Security for June 20.

On Saturday, Peevski issued a statement saying that he was ready to step down "in the name of citizens, society and the state."

However, the move failed to curb the massive peaceful protests in the country, with thousands gathering in Sofia and other major cities on Saturday and Sunday.

A large number of protesters demanded the resignation of the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, which took over at the end of May.

Oresharski made clear Sunday that a resignation would be "the easy way out" and a highly irresponsible step, given the commitment of the Cabinet to stabilize the country and lead it out of the crisis.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister invited delegates of the protesters and of non-governmental organizations opposed to Peevski's appointment to a new round of talks on Monday afternoon.

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Tags: Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Sergei Stanishev, Party of European Socialists, Delyan Peevski, Plamen Oresharski, GERB government, ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, DPS, protests, DANS, State Agency for National Security


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