Bulgaria: Where Favouritisms Lead the Country

Ludovica's picture

"In Bulgaria it is often impossible to know where organised crime ends and legitimate business begins. The nexus between the two is characterised by complex bureaucratic structures, opaque corporate accounting and a maze of offshore accounts." The journalist John O'Brennan gives us an explanatory view of the causes of the protests in Bulgaria, widely ignored by the media during the first week of manifestations across the nation.

Besides the economic stagnation, lack of jobs and youths' future undermined by incertitude in the poorest country in the EU, the principal cause of the outrage and malcontent that led civilians to the street is the corruption of the political elite, accused of being oligarchs and biased.

The escalated bribery, dotted by many episodes of embezzlements and elections of people whose lifestyles and morality are rather ambiguous, exasperates citizens. They are making demands that the current three-month-old, socialist-led government step down, for new and legitimate elections, for effective strategies to fight organized crime and for reforms to improve the stagnant economy.

Business & Politics

"Mafia" and "Resign" are the main words chanted by protesters who have been taking to the streets of the capital Sofia and protesting against corruption and murky relationships between the leadership and businessmen.

What sparked the protests was the decision of the government to designate the media mogul and lawmaker Delyan Peevski as new security chief of the country. Mr Peevski, who has no experience of security issues, was fired in 2007 accused of malpractice, blackmail and a lack of morals. The media magnate is also believed to be protected by an intricate and powerful network of newspapers and TV channels owned by his mother, and his appointment is, therefore, a glaring symbol of the ties between politicians and businessmen.

About 10,000 people rallied in front of the National Assembly building and the Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski was forced to cancel Delyan Peevski's appointment; however, he refused to resign.

Bulgaria is only the latest country in turmoil, following a wave of protests that have been shaking governments across the globe. The situation of current protests and rallies is expected to worsen unless the current leadership will listen to the citizens and will call for new elections; this time, clear of any nepotisms.

Ludovica Iaccino is an Italian who graduated in international journalism and is currently living in London. Read more posts by her here.

Share with friends