Bulgarian Socialist Leader: DPS Party Nominated Peevski for Security Agency Head
Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), admitted Monday that ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) had nominated controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski to chair the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
Peevski's appointment on June 14 triggered a wave of protests, which did not die down with the cancellation of the move, with protesters calling for the resignation of the socialist-lead coalition government over ties with oligarchs, as well as Election Code amendments. The rallies still continue.
"He is a member of the governing body of this party, it is only normal for them to nominate him," Stanishev announced in an interview for the morning broadcast of bTV.
Asked whether his statement meant that Ahmed Dogan, founder and former DPS leader, had thrown his weight behind the nomination, Stanishev said that everybody was free to interpret the information any way they preferred.
Stanishev claimed that Peevski had not caused the series of ongoing mass protests.
"This government has been under pressure from its first day in office. GERB never came to terms with the fact that it is in opposition. A scenario for the destabilization of the country is being implemented," he stated, as cited by Sega daily.
He admitted that there had been a risk of the government collapsing in June, but added that the current situation was totally different and the Cabinet had already shown that they were capable of working.
Stanishev argued that Bulgaria's civil society would not go back to keeping a low profile.
"The biggest victory for these 100 days in office is that people are no longer afraid to protest. That you no longer get the Prime Minister to call your office after a broadcast," the socialist leader said, to which the hosts replied that they were being actively contacted by PR agents.
Stanishev defended other controversial appointments of the government, insisting that Georgi Hristozov, who was appointed director of the National Electric Company (NEK) despite a conviction on his record and his ineligibility for access to classified information, was a good specialists and the author of the new pricing model in the energy sector which had resulted in the 5% decrease in electricity prices.
As regards the appointment of Petko Arnaudov as head of the Tsarevo-based state forestry holding despite the ongoing trials against him, Stanishev pointed out that he had been elected Mayor of Tsarevo twice, which meant that he enjoyed public trust.
The BSP leader further criticized the former center-right GERB government for appointing unqualified people to key positions.
"The lifespan of this government is solely in their hands. If they work well, its lifespan will be long," he claimed.
Stanishev also made clear that a new analysis would be prepared of the feasibility of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project.
Asked to comment on the fact that UK bank HSBC had already drafted such an analysis for which it had been paid EUR 2.5 M, Stanishev said that the report could not be considered objective because the previous government had submitted incorrect information to the consultancy.
The socialist leader explained that there was no need to hire a foreign consultant for the analysis, adding that the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) could do it.
He refused to say whether he would accept a nomination for an EU Commissioner, stressing that he post of BSP leader was more important to him because it allowed him to engage in policy-making.
He also described BSP as "the least leader-driven and clientelistic party."
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