Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has denied claims of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov that he was advised by so-called "Capital" circle to include him in the cabinet.
Plevneliev was Regional Development Minister before running for President on behalf of Borisov's GERB party in 2011. Left-wing parties accuse him of being part of the Capital Circle, a network of businessmen, scholars, pollsters and journalists allegedly plotting to get a tight grip on the state.
Borisov said in a Monday interview that Plevneliev had been one of several ministers whose names had been proposed by the "circle".
Others include the former ministers of energy (Traycho Traykov is now running for President), finance, and environment.
If there is something true in the personal participation of the Capital circle in Borisov's first cabinet (2009-2013), this means "backroom games in Bulgaria have indeed triumphed," Rosen Plevneliev argued in response.
"I am no part of back-room games and have never been. The Prime Minister had better remember I was one of the members of the economic team GERB [Borisov's party] in 2009," he added, quoted by the BNR, in an apparent reference to the time GERB had not already won the July 2009 general election.
He also recalled his record before joining the executive, having become Investor of the Year in 2008 and a member of a number of industrial chambers and organizations.
Plevneliev is not running for a second term of office.
In 2009, when asked by daily 24 Chasa whether the so-called Capital circle had interfered in the choice of ministers, Borisov had fervently denied.
The incumbent head of state, whose term of office expires in January and who has been at odds with Borisov over numerous issues this year, also commented:
"Every interview of [Borisov] is [different], maybe we will hear something different in the next one, but what matters to me is that an attempt is being made in the heat of the presidential campaign to make sure citizens will not hear [any debate on] important issues."
"I am the only Bulgarian politician of the [democratic] transition who stood up with an exceptionally effective solution against the interest of the oligarchy," Focus News Agency quotes him as saying, in a reference to an amendment he triggered which avoided the excessive concentration of state assets in a single bank.
He also cited the example of the energy efficiency program, of which he was among the strongest backers during his term of office, as an alternative to the so-called Grand Energy Slam, a set of Bulgarian-Russian projects.
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