New Protests in Bulgaria over New Security Chief

sofia today

BBC News: Opposition MPs in the Bulgarian parliament have protested after a media tycoon was appointed to head the national security agency.

Delyan Peevski, 32, a member of the country’s Turkish minority party, was voted into the post without a debate by the ruling Socialists and their allies. He had been nominated by the new Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski. President Rosen Plevneliev demanded a review of the vote, questioning Mr Peevski’s “reputation and competence” as a crowd of thousand protesters gathered outside parliament in the capital, Sofia.

Mr Peevski joined a Socialist-led government in 2005 as deputy emergency response minister but was sacked two years later and investigated over corruption allegations. The investigation was later dropped. The Socialists have been governing in a fragile minority government as a result of last month’s general election, which followed unrest over the country’s economic crisis.

External specialist: Mr Oresharski has defended the appointment of Mr Peevski, saying Bulgaria needs to take serious steps to stop organised crime and smuggling and he is best suited for the job, despite lacking experience. “Peevski was chosen because he is not part of the system and we deliberately looked for such an external specialist so that he can restructure it,” he told reporters.

However, the speed of the appointment has raised questions. British Ambassador Jonathan Allen wrote on Twitter: “The appointment has been rushed through with no hearings, debate or opportunity to find out about candidate. Why?” President Plevneliev, from the Gerb party which lost the election, said the decision would have “longstanding negative consequences for Bulgaria”.