Deputy Parliament Speaker Resigns after Lobbyist Scandal with Bulgarian TV
Lachezar Ivanov, who was accused by a Bulgarian TV reporter of asserting pressure on the media, has resigned as a Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and Chief of the Sofia headquarters of the ruling party GERB.
Ivanov announced Wednesday that his decision was triggered by the accusations of the reporter from the Bulgarian Nova TV, Diliyana Gaytandzhieva.
She claimed that Ivanov has tried to prevent from airing her report, showing the good life of six Bulgarian customs officers because he had “friendly relations” with one of them.
According to unofficial information, on Wednesday the Executive Committee of the ruling party GERB will have a meeting to discuss the case.
GERB party members have expressed their indignation with Ivanov's behavior. They have said they felt ashamed and feel uncomfortable talking to the media because their party does not support lobbism and corruption schemes.
“We started off with big promises that we will not tolerate anybody and there were people who got burned from this. This scandal will leave a stain and we need to take some radical actions,” a GERB MP said.
Members of the Executive Committee have announced they would ask for Ivanov to resign not only from his two positions, but also withdraw from the Health Committee and the Parliament.
According to GERB sources, there is a possibility that the PM Boyko Borisov might ask Ivanov to resign from the Parliament, relying on the contract that every GERB MP signs in the beginning of the mandate.
They have also stated that Ivanov was inevitably going to be taken down from his position as Chair of GERB Sofia headquarters. The sources add that the MP has alsohad conflict of interests in the Health Committee because he had “tight relations within the sector”.
The scandal with Nova TV is not the first one for Lachezar Ivanov. Last year it was discovered that he had traveled to the USA with the former Health Minister Bozhidar Nanev. They were invited by two NGOs, directed by Rumen Hichev, who is also the Director of the Tissue Bank “Osteotek”. The company has contracts with different hospitals for taking tissues.
Earlier this year, Ivanov was involved in the scandal with the lobbyist amendment in the drug act, according to which drugs images were allowed for usage in advertising.
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