Bulgaria President, PM Clash over Chief of State Security Body
President Rosen Plevneliev has urged the replacement of Vladimir Pisanchev as head of Bulgaria's main counter-intelligence unit, the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
This follows Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's comments that no high-level reshuffles will be made either at DANS or the Interior Ministry to avoid speculation of "political purges."
Previously, Borisov's GERB party, the senior coalition partner, had indicated it would seek new appointments at the helm of both institutions. Some MPs were tipped to put forward the replacement of Lazarov in the coming days after an amendment to the Interior Ministry Act passed this week in Parliament returned to the President powers to appoint both officials, competences he had enjoyed until 2014.
But on Friday, the Prime Minister said both Pisanchev and Lazarov were "putting in much effort in their work."
Plevneliev, on the other hand, believes it is "high time... that [DANS] generates security and not scandals."
"Starting with the Kostinbrod affair... what happened in 2013 and 2014, when DANS was serving unconstitutional attacks on the head of state and the "Worms" operation [involving illegal wiretapping]... we have enough evidence to give a firm assessment that it is high time for changes to take place in DANS," the Bulgarian National Radio quotes the President as saying.
The "Kostinbrod affair" occurred on May 11, 2013, a day before the early parliamentary elections, and involved illegally printing ballots that were allegedly part of GERB's plot to cling to power after the vote.
Plevneliev, however, stopped short of commenting the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary, the second
The current DANS head Pisanchev and the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary Svetlozar Lazarov were appointed under the previous elected administration where the socialist party BSP and liberal, Turk-dominated DPS were coalition partners.
Pisanchev in particular took over after the coalition's previous proposal, lawmaker Delyan Peevski, opened the floodgates of widespread protests against the government in 2013 in which Plevneliev sided with the demonstrators.
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