Bulgarian President Lambasts Cabinet, Warns of Crisis

Bookmark

(Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria’s president deepened his rift with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s government, saying it had lost his trust and that the country was spiraling into a “sharp crisis” under its rule.

The comment from Rumen Radev escalates a confrontation with Borissov’s cabinet, which the president says has failed to fight graft. Bulgaria has been under scrutiny from the European Union over its poor adherence to the rule of law and limited success in fighting high-level corruption, which has prevented it from joining the Schengen travel-free zone.

“We’re witnessing a sharp crisis in the government at all levels,” Radev, whose immunity status is being probed by prosecutors, said in an address Tuesday. “This government and its leadership is leading to an institutional collapse and is depriving us of our future as a nation.”

Deepening Confrontation

Radev criticized the cabinet for a recent water-supply crisis that led to the resignation of a minister and a no-confidence vote that the cabinet survived, as well as for its failure to fight illegal garbage imports.

Borissov’s third cabinet since 2009 is also working to clinch entry into the euro-area waiting room, known as ERM-2. It’s trying to assuage earlier concern among euro members that letting it into the club would leave them exposed to a Greek-style sovereign-debt crisis or a money-laundering scandal akin to the string of crimes that originated in Baltic euro countries.

Radev’s administration is “looking for confrontation with the government,” Borissov told reporters on Tuesday. “We haven’t worked together on any topic, so I don’t feel harmed from not having his support.”

Radev has also criticized the country’s chief prosecutor, Ivan Geshev, and started discussions about changing the constitution to curb his powers. Geshev has asked the Constitutional Court to clarify a question on Radev’s immune status after a conflict-of-interest investigation was halted due to his possible involvement. Radev has denied wrongdoing.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.