British Ambassador: Bulgarians Rally against All Parties

Diplomacy | September 7, 2013, Saturday // 11:05|  views

UK Ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen. Photo by BGNES

The protest rallies in Bulgaria did not target just one political party, but all of them, according to British Ambassador to Bulgaria, HMA Jonathan Allen.

Speaking in an interview for Nova TV on Saturday, the diplomat stated the protests were both against the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, on whose mandate the government was formed, and the formerly-ruling opposition center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

He underscored that neither side had proposed concrete measures to reinstate trust in politics, adding he was still expecting a program for reforms.

Regarding the anti-government and pro-government protest rallies, staged in Sofia on September 4, the day lawmakers returned to work from their summer break, the Ambassador commented laconically that it seemed that all buses in Bulgaria had been used for a certain political party.

The diplomat stressed he did not want to interfere or play a role in home affairs, but still made recommendations based on the experience of his own country.

He listed as priority transparency, including making public all expenses in politics, and the judiciary stepping up measures and legislation to counter corruption.

According to Allen, Bulgaria further needs an independent regulator to control political parties' financing and expenditures.

The Ambassador noted that many parliamentary committees do not adhere to their duties. He gave as example the Energy Committee changing four chair persons in a short period of time which gave grounds for suspicions of dependencies. Allen recommended ending the practice of having such committees follow the policies of the ruling party.

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Tags: parliamentary committees, regulator, judiciary, reforms, BSP, GERB, protests, government, Bulgaria, corruption, transparency, rallies, protests, Jonathan Allen


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