Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov was unsurprisingly re-elected as leader of his GERB party today (26 November). In his speech, he slammed the main opposition force, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), accusing them of seeking to ruin the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Borissov delivered the message that his party’s relations with the nationalists, the junior partner in the cabinet, were good, and that he plans to govern for a full mandate, until 2021.
He also made it clear that his party’s recent push for investigating the 1990s privatisation deals were aimed against the Socialists, and not against the historic centre-right force Union of Democratic Forces (SDS). The name of the then SDS leader Ivan Kostov, who served as PM from May 1997 to July 2001, is linked to some of the most doubtful privatisation deals in Bulgaria’s democratic transition.
Commentators also stressed that Borissov didn’t take aim at the mainly ethnic Turkish party DPS, which recently asked for a “re-formating” of the coalition by dropping the nationalists.
Earlier this month the BSP leader Kornelia Ninova asked for a non-confidence vote at the sensitive time when the country is preparing to take up the rotating EU Presidency. According to her, the vote could be over corruption in healthcare, education, regional development or other spheres, as there were clear examples everywhere.
Borissov said at the GERB congress that the socialists “don’t want” that the Bulgarian Presidency be successful, and that “if they can ruin it, they will”.
“The most disgusting word I have heard is envy”, Borissov said, hinting that the socialists were envious of his EU leadership role.
In recent months, Borissov has tried to reach out to the socialists, by proposing that Denitsa Zlateva, a deputy PM in the caretaker government which was in charge up to his third cabinet, takes charge of the Ministry for the Bulgarian Presidency. Zlateva refused, and the job went to Liliana Pavlova, who could be described as probably his most faithful party soldier.