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Another investigation by former MEP Nikolay Barekov’s Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) has revealed an alleged corrupt scheme by Bulgarian oligarchy.

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After an anti-corruption inquiry, the ACF team led by Barekov gathered a host of evidence against the daughter of Ivan Kostov, who allegedly privatized property worth over BGN 30 billion and enriched dozens of Bulgarian oligarchs.

Mina Kostova, nicknamed "the princess" , is alleged to have received assistance from politicians and ministers close to her father from 5 previous Bulgarian governments (3 of which were GERB), together with bankers and businessmen, to sell an entire building of the state energy company at an extremely inflated price.

The most scandalous allegation is that, according to information from the ACF, the building was sold without a public procurement process at an inflated price, given that the state energy company is in an actual state of bankruptcy. The building itself cost the state more than 5m euros.

“This million-euro deal hurts all honest Bulgarian taxpayers” Barekov told EU Reporter. “The main characters are painfully familiar. The same ones who fed the oligarchic-mafia dragon of corruption in our country” he said. “Oligarchs who got rich around Kostov's privatization and took power behind the scenes in the last 20 years during the governments of the Triple Coalition and GERB.”

In recent years, Nikolay Barekov has established himself as a journalist and politician who fully investigates high-level corruption in Bulgaria. The former MEP and father of many children is again very popular in the country, with his investigations and civil actions against properties and offices of the Bulgarian oligarchs.

Barekov believes that the rule of the last 6 governments of parties such as UDF, NMSS, BSP and GERB are in fact a facade of the oligarchy and their abuses in the country.

Barekov specifically provided this investigation to EU Reporter because he says, “there is no trust in Bulgarian television”.

In the last few years Nikolay Barekov has been come under pressure several times by the oligarchy, with a number of court attempts being brought by them to stop his investigations.

A source confided to EU Reporter that the Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Interior are investigating threats of murder against Barekov, designed to intimidate him and to force Barekov and his family to emigrate from Bulgaria forever

Bulgaria

Bulgaria to hold fresh general election on 11 July - president

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Bulgaria will hold a snap parliamentary election on 11 July, after a third and final attempt to form a government following 4 April polls that led to a fragmented parliament failed, President Rumen Radev (pictured) said today (5 May), writes Tsvetelia Tsolova.

Outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's centre-right GERB, which has dominated Bulgarian politics over the last decade, again emerged as the largest party after last month's election but it lost seats amid widespread public anger over corruption in the European Union's poorest member state.

With Borissov short of a majority and unable to forge a new coalition, the president had asked a new anti-elite party led by TV host Slavi Trifonov to do so but it also failed, as did the third largest party in the new parliament, the Socialists.

"Bulgaria needs a strong-willed political alternative, which the current parliament failed to produce," Radev said after the Socialist Party returned the mandate to form a government.

The stalemate left Radev, a harsh critic of Borissov's failure to crack down on graft, with no alternative but to appoint an interim technocrat administration and call another snap election within two months.

The prolonged political uncertainty is unlikely to undermine Bulgaria's prudent fiscal policies and its commitment to adopting the euro currency due to a broad political consensus in Sofia on these issues, ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday.

Fitch, which rates Bulgaria at investment BBB grade with a positive outlook, said that a protracted political deadlock could delay reforms, needed for the efficient tapping of the EU's €750 billion coronavirus Recovery Fund

Radev linked the setting of the date for the new election with the appointment of a new central electoral commission that is expected to be finalised on 11 May.

"Next week I will dissolve the parliament and appoint an interim government. In this situation, the election is expected to be held on 11 July," Radev said in a live broadcast.

Radev said he plans to appoint experts as interim ministers, including members of the Socialist Party, which has already said it would back him in his own re-election bid in a presidential vote due in the autumn.

The caretaker government will face a challenging agenda of managing a health and economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic within a tight budget it cannot amend and of ensuring a fair election.

A recent opinion poll showed GERB remains the most popular party, but its key rival, Trifonov's There Is Such a People, is a close second, raising the prospect of continued fragmentation in which the politicians will struggle to form a stable coalition government.

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Bulgaria faces fresh elections as Socialists refuse to form a government

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Bulgarian President Rumen Radev gives a mandate to form a new government to former Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov of centre-right GERB party in Sofia, Bulgaria, April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev gives a mandate to form a new government to former Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov of centre-right GERB party in Sofia, Bulgaria, April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Bulgaria will head to the polls in July after the Socialists on Saturday (1 May) became the third political party to refuse to lead a government following last month's parliamentary election.

The Socialists, who lost almost half of their seats in the April 4 election, said it would be impossible to build a working majority in a fragmented parliament and would return the mandate immediately after the president hands it to them on May 5.

President Rumen Radev faces having to dissolve parliament, appoint an interim administration and call snap polls within two months - most likely on July 11.

Prolonged political uncertainty could hamper the European Union's poorest member state's ability to restart its pandemic battered economy and effectively tap the EU's 750 billion euro ($896 billion) coronavirus Recovery Fund.

The Socialists' decision comes after both the centre-right GERB party of outgoing, three-time Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the new anti-establishment ITN party, led by TV host and singer Slavi Trifonov, both gave up on attempts to form a government.

Popular anger against widespread corruption after almost a decade of Borissov's governance has boosted support for the anti-elite ITN party and two smaller anti-graft groupings, though the three together lack a majority in the chamber.

The Socialists, who have campaigned to unseat Borissov's GERB, said the three new parties have refused to enter into alliance with them.

"The three new parties in the parliament showed political immaturity, they could not overcome their ego," Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova told reporters after a party meeting.

"In this situation, despite our will for a change a government led by us, even a temporary one, is impossible."

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Daniel Mitov proposed as Bulgaria’s next prime minister

EU Reporter Correspondent

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Bulgarian media is reporting today (15 April) that the ruling GERB party is proposing Daniel Mitov (pictured) to be Bulgaria’s next prime minister. Boyko Borissov, prime minister and leader of GERB party that won the largest share of votes in the April 4 parliamentary elections, said on April 14 at a meeting of the party's parliamentary group that they were also proposing Tsveta Karayancheva as Speaker of the National Assembly, and Desislava Atanasova as chair of the parliamentary group. Borissov called on all parties to take a responsible approach to the mandates for forming a government in the wake of the pandemic and financial and economic crisis.

Daniel Mitov is a former minister of foreign affairs in the cabinet, known as "Borissov 2". Mitov's career began in the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria party, continued in the Bulgaria of the Citizens Movement, then he was foreign minister in the caretaker government with Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki and in the second government of Boyko Borissov. Mitov is already a member of GERB and elected MP from their list of candidates.

On 14 April, the cabinet Borisov 3 held its final regular weekly meeting.

Borissov said that GERB would act responsibly in dealing with the mandate that will be assigned to them for forming a new cabinet.

The government, according to the Constitution, must resign before the newly elected Parliament, which meets for its first sitting tomorrow, April 15. Until a new cabinet is announced, the old one continues to perform its functions, but in resignation. It remains to be seen if a new government will be formed after the cycle of mandates, or if a caretaker government will be appointed.

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