Thousands Gather in Bulgaria Against New Government

Published: 18 June 2013


Several days of protests continued in the Bulgarian capital as 15,000 demonstrators gathered to demand the resignation of the new socialist-led government, EuroNews reported Monday.

The appointment of Delyan Peevski as head of the national security agency enraged Bulgarians who gathered in Sofia and other cities throughout the country.

Delyan Peevski, a media mogul, lacks any security experience. His appointment was rushed through Parliament without debate Friday. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, whose government came into power two weeks ago, acknowledged the appointment was a mistake but said it would be a mistake for Peevski to step down now. That, he said, would put the country in “danger of again destabilizing”.

Peevski announced his resignation Saturday and Oresharski accepted it Monday, although Parliament makes the final decision.

The demonstrators made accusations of corruption in their demand for early elections. Shouting slogans such as “red garbage!” “mafia!” and “resignation!”, Bulgarians demanded more transparency from their government.

Mass protests about living standards and administrative corruption led to dissolution of the center-right GERB party in February. Elections in May left GERB as becoming the largest party in Parliament, but failed to secure a majority, resulting in the Socialists gaining support of a small nationalist party and forming a coalition.

The dissolution of the new government would deprive the country of billions in European aid, Oresharski said. Bulgaria remains the poorest member of the European Union and is blocked from joining the passport-free Schengen zone.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevleviev called on all parties to come up with solutions to the political crisis. The national security council will convene Thursday, he said.