Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

SOMEONE RUINED PASKALEV'S CHANCES FOR RETURN

The news about the resignation of one of Bulgaria's deputy prime ministers provoked a surprising noise in the media. Most circumstances in the handing of Kostadin Paskalev's resignation seem clear. Firstly, the motive: Mr. Paskalev felt himself isolated from the process of taking important decisions and restricted in supervising the utilization of the pre-accession funds. Vice premier Kostadin Paskalev resigned because he didn't have enough power in the Government.But why did that happen right now? Has Paskalev's resignation anything to do with the forthcoming NATO meeting in Prague? There's hardly a direct link. But it is obvious that the political hush caused by the need of clearing the practical alternatives after Prague is about to end soon. Everybody is convinced that Bulgaria will be integrated to the Northatlantic Pact. That's why Bulgarian politicians are getting more likely to go back to their favourite hobby - the fighting for power, and more specificly - for the benefits from power.Will Paskalev's resignation shake the Cabinet? Definitely not, because the former vice prime minister is not a member of the ruling majority. This majority includes the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has growing chances to inherit NMSII in the state government, so the pressure and the complicated political combinations are inevitable.Paskalev's resignation has not necessarily been ordered by BSP. Some observers also say it does not indicate BSP's intentions (although such intentions surely exist) for complete withdrawal from partnership with the rulers. Just the opposite - the other representative of BSP in the Cabinet - the Minister of State Administration Dimitar Kalchev - will probably be put under political pressure in order to give up following his colleague. The red politicians are clever enough to understand that a quick alienation from NMSII in this moment would rather bring them political harm. They will do it at the right moment - no sooner than the famous 800 days, announced by the Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, expire.In fact, there are two impressive facts: Paskalev's willingness to make public declarations and the accusatory tone that he uses. If he is trying to gain political dividends for the future, he is doing it quite transparently - it was clear that the alienation from the incumbent Government should have preceded the resignation. The more probable version is the following: Paskalev deposited his resignation in order to be able to make pressure in concrete negotiations, but its announcement was a shock for him by his opponents. Anyway, it is all a matter of situation fights, not of principals. Obviously, the Government finds it difficult to utilize the pre-accession funds. However, more arguments arise because of the complicated network of personal interests. It is also obvious that the Cabinet does not act as a team of partners. It is rather a field for battles among various political and/or economic lobbies. It's useless to ask who are the winners and the losers in these battles, because until they continue, a principle and responsible Bulgarian government is not likely to appear. It's strange that until now the political elite has not shown an ability for self-preservation. The society's mistrust in the rulers already comes to its level of the last stage of foremer premier Ivan Kostov's ruling. Bulgarian voters are ready to vote against their current rulers - for example, only a quarter of those who voted for the present mayors would support them again. It means that an almost full rotation in the power is inevitable on the forthcoming local elections, as well as on the next parliamentary ones.In the past, after every political failure of a government a person has always appeared to focus people's hopes for a change for the better. The real size of the political crisis in the country will become evident, when there isn't even one candidate in the elections able to provoke positive expectations. Such elections would ruin the positions of the currently acting political elite and all of its petty political interests.

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