Senior Bulgarian Politicians Deny Reports of New Cabinet Looming
The leaders of former Bulgarian ruling party GERB and of current ruling coalition partner Movement for Rights and Freedoms have denied reports of behind-the-scenes talks for a new cabinet.
The reports were published earlier by Bulgarian journalist Veselin Jelev, the correspondent of leading Bulgarian daily Trud in Brussels.
According to Jelev, who wrote on his personal blog citing "informed sources", GERB and MRF are negotiating a new cabinet with current Vice-PM and Minister of Interior Tsvetlin Yovchev at the helm.
On his part, Yovchev has also issued a statement denying that such plans are being made.
"The only political commitment I have made is to Bulgaria's PM Plamen Oresharski. Bulgaria is really lucky to have such a premier," commented Yovchev, adding that the report sounds based on what he described as a plot to spread false rumors.
"The claims that there are joint actions by GERB and the MRF are only the latest lies and fantasies [in Bulgarian public life]," commented GERB leader Boyko Borisov on his Facebook page.
According to Borisov, the aim of the "insinuations" is to discourage simmering public discontent at the Oresharski cabinet, supported in parliament by the Movement, together with junior partner, the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
"Given the deep division between the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and GERB regarding basic values, such a union is impossible," stated on his part MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan, who is currently in Brussels to meet fellow European liberal (ALDE) leaders.
"GERB's rule inflicted deep wounds upon the body of Bulgaria's democratic organism. Healing those wounds means not allowing GERB to return," added Mestan.
In his report, Jelev had cited, besides anti-cabinet protests, growing tensions between current coalition partners as part of the motivation for the alleged new coalition talks.
He also added that a GERB-MRF union would ensure a coalition of 133 MPs, against the 120 out of 240 for the current Socialist-MRF coalition.
The journalist also speculated that with the move MRF would like to marginalize the fourth remaning party in the Bulgarian Parliament, nationalists Ataka.
With GERB on several occasions boycotting parliamentary sittings, it was up for Ataka MPs to ensure the necessary quorum, which has led to accusations that the current coalition relies on the support of an often xenophobic party.
The inclusion of Yovchev as Vice-PM and Interior Minister in the Socialist Party and MRF backed Oresharski cabinet has perplexed analysts.
Yovchev's prior public position was that of head of cabinet for current Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, who before being elected in 2011, served as Minister of Regional Development for GERB's Boyko Borisov, who was Bulgaria's PM 2009-13.
Before that, in 2009, Yovchev was appointed head of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS) by Bulgaria's former President Georgi Parvanov, at the proposal of Borisov.
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