Bulgarian Prime Minister Clashes With President Over Elections

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov arrives at the EU summit in Brussels, October 2, 2020. EPA-EFE/Olivier Matthys / POOL

Borissov criticized Radev's decision, saying it was hard to know how the pandemic would unfold by late March and implying that elections should be delayed.

"No doctor can make a prognosis about what the situation will be like, no one can even make a weather forecast for March," he told a briefing on the vaccination process at which he had appeared suddenly, without notice, grabbing attention from the Health Minister. 

On Wednesday, the President met doctors to plan a strategy on preventive measures and guidelines for the elections. But Borissov claimed the consultations were only set to make Radev look concerned to the public. 

Borissov and Radev have long had a tense relationship. Their conflicts worsened when Radev openly supported the anti-government protest wave last summer against Borissov's rule and against Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev who, it was disclosed on January 28, had eavesdropped on the President.

Earlier this week, the two accused each other of having ties with oligarchs. Radev hinted that Borissov was dependent on the controversial MP Delyan Peevski, while Borissov detected in Radev's shadow the exiled oligarch Vassil Bojkov, who recently announced he was forming an opposition party. Both deny being dependent in this way. 

The elections in March are expected to offer some surprises, as opposition to the ruling coalition is growing, but remains fragmented.

On January 5, Alpha Research agency published a study on current tendencies among the voters which put the ruling GERB party first with 24.3 per cent of the votes, the Bulgarian Socialist Party second with 21.9 per cent and the...

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