Politicians from Bulgaria’s ruling majority, including the Speaker of Parliament and the Prime Minister as well as members of the Cabinet, have hit back at criticisms levelled by President Roumen Radev.
Radev, elected on the ticket of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, spelt out a number of criticisms on January 28 in a speech marking two years in office. He attacked the government on a range of issues, from economic performance to the fighter jet acquisition process.
National Assembly Speaker Tsveta Karayancheva, a senior member of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, described Radev’s speech as “dark, pessimistic, dull and humiliating Bulgaria”.
All Radev’s speeches were like this, Karayancheva said. “As though they were written to be given by a president of an enemy country who wants to humiliate, overwhelm Bulgaria and take it over,” she said.
Karayancheva poured scorn on Radev saying that early parliamentary elections were inevitable, saying that this contradicted what he had said two months ago. She said that Radev wanted to form a caretaker government so that he could reverse Parliament’s decision to approve negotiations with the US on acquiring F-16 fighter jets.
She also dismissed Radev’s allegation that laws were adopted as a result of lobbyism. Parliament was the most transparent institution in Bulgaria, Karayancheva said.
Prime Minister Borissov, addressing a conference on January 29, said that the procedure for selecting the new fighter jets for the Bulgarian Air Force was as transparent as possible.
Decisions that were important for the country were taken in Parliament, where everything is transparent, Borissov said.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, also of GERB, rejected Radev’s allegation that the government was spending money from the national Budget in a non-transparent way.
Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov rejected Radev’s statement that there was a steady decline in foreign direct investment.
“We have problems, but let’s get together and solve these problems, not denigrate Bulgaria. Investors look and wonder what’s going on,” Karanikolov said.
He said that on one hand, investors were coming, but “another institution” was saying that the Bulgarian economy was a lasting problem.
“Currently, investors come to Bulgaria for two reasons: financial and macroeconomic stability and, most importantly, skilled labour. Yes, insufficient, but qualified and let us work on that,” Karanikolov said./IBNA