Ex Bulgarian President Challenges PM to Leadership Battle

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 3, 2012, Friday // 12:04
Ex Bulgarian President Challenges PM to Leadership Battle: Ex Bulgarian President Challenges PM to Leadership Battle Former Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov left office on January 22 after serving two terms there (2002-2012). Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's former President, Georgi Parvanov, vows to lead a heavy battle with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and his weak, inactive and detrimental cabinet and rule.

Parvanov, who left office on January 22 after serving two terms there (2002-2012), spoke Friday in an interview for the largest private TV channel bTV. He said that the forthcoming battle with the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, was a battle among different leaderships more than ever.

The ex Head of State further pointed at Borisov's Deputy and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, as a symbol of violence - something GERB had turned into official State policy with the PM being its strongest representative.

He firmly rejected information that that he had maintained close ties with defendant, murky businessman, former employee of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, and alleged crime boss Alexey Petrov AKA The Octopus and The Tractor.

"Tsvetanov is an Interior Minister; he should not spread gossip. If he has proof that I have any connections with the "Octopus," he must go to Court and present it there as any honest man would do. If anyone maintained ties with Petrov - it was Borisov - they had a joint firm - and Atanas Atanasov was the person to hire him for the Security Services," Parvanov explained.

Alexey Petrov was arrested on February 10 2010, in a special operation codenamed "Octopus," and together with five other people is facing charges of racketeering and extortion. The detainees were initially charged with organizing prostitution, drug trafficking, money laundering, racketeering, tax fraud and embezzlement.

In the summer of 2010, the prosecutor declared that it was impossible to solve the case with one trial and opened two trials against a total of 25 defendants, deploying a team of three prosecutors. At the first for 2012 Court session on the "Octopus" case, the former Chief of the National Security Services, NSS (now DANS), General Atanas Atanasov, testified that there was a strong connection between Parvanov and Petrov.

In the Friday interview, the former President declared that he was ready for a fight, a political clash, and a clash of morals and ideas, stressing that coalition with GERB, even in theory, is absolutely impossible.

Parvanov is a former leader of the opposition, left wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP. He had to quit party ranks after he was elected for the first term in office, and as recently as last weekend, returned as a member.

He voiced suspicions about those from BSP, who were responsible for the party having only 40 MPs in the current Parliament.

Parvanov, however, pointed out that he would not self-nominate for BSP leader, but hoped on the support of many party members and wished for others to join the race, not just him and former PM and current BSP leader, Sergey Stanishev. He stressed that there are two key words for the Socialists now - "change" and "strength"

"I was nominated for party Chairman in 1996, in a very critical situation. If the current situation imposes it - I could once again offer ideas and policies. At the next general elections, our party would not get enough votes to have its own cabinet, so we will have to seek coalition parties. It is important to work on having at least 120 BSP MPs in the next Parliament. GERB are weak as rulers, but showed that they know how to run elections," said the ex-President.

Regarding reports that Vice President, Angel Marin, was illegal during their second term in office, because Parvanov failed to sign a decree for him, the former Head of State countered that the one signed at the beginning of the first term was permanent, without an expiration date.

He praised his successor, Rosen Plevneliev, for being moderate and balanced. He also revealed that he had warned Plevneliev, who ran for President on the GERB ballot, about some risks he would face when working with the institutions.

"I felt finally home when I sat in our old apartment to watch a volleyball game on TV with a shot of rakiya (traditional Bulgarian brandy) and pickles," Parvanov told the TV hosts.

With wife and former First Lady, Zorka, they left the official State Residence "Boyana" and returned to their apartment in the modest Sofia district "Krasna Polyana."

"I feel great in "Krasna Polyana. I lead a normal life; go to the grocery store. Life is back to normal as it was before I became President," Parvanov stated.

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Tags: Interior Minister, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, GERB, Sergey Stanishev, leader, BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Georgi Parvanov, former President, DANS, State Agency for National Security, presidential runner, presidential elecitons, The Tractor, indictment, organized crime, Octopus, Alexei Petrov, Atanas Atanasov, NSS, Rosen Pleveneliev, Tsvetan Tsvetanov
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