Protesters in Bulgaria Ask ‘Corrupt’ PM Boyko Borissov to Resign

European Parliament President David Sassoli at the EU Summit. Photo: European Parliament (file photo)
European Parliament President David Sassoli at the EU Summit. Photo: European Parliament (file photo)

The frustration of citizens in Bulgaria is increasing over systemic political corruption.

By RMN News Service

Massive public protests are taking place in Bulgaria, mainly in the capital Sofia, over endemic corruption and state capture, accusing prime minister (PM) Boyko Borisov’s governments, in power since 2009.

As protesters demand Borisov’s and chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev’s resignations, the European Parliament has raised concerns over the significant deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, and violation of fundamental rights in the Balkan nation in Southeast Europe.

In a resolution adopted with 358 votes in favour, 277 against and 56 abstentions, MEPs (Members of European Parliament) express their “unequivocal support for the people of Bulgaria in their legitimate demands and aspirations for justice, transparency, accountability, and democracy”.

They condemn the police violence and “disproportionate intervention”, in particular any use of force against women and children and journalists, as well as the “unlawful and excessive audits” into private businesses that support the protests.

“The rule of law means separation of powers, but allegations of judicial corruption and politically driven prosecutions proliferate. We are witnessing police brutality and the suppression of the rights of minorities,” said rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES).

The resolution text notes a “significant deterioration of respect for the principles of rule of law, democracy, and fundamental rights, including the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, the fight against corruption and freedom of the media”.

It focuses also on persisting systemic issues in the judiciary, especially the lack of a framework to hold the Supreme Judicial Council and the Prosecutor General accountable. The European Parliament also observes that the investigations into high-level corruption do not yield tangible results.

The MEPs condemn smear campaigns and violence against journalists. They are deeply concerned by the deterioration in media freedom, transparency and the lack of diversity in media ownership, and worried that EU funds are allegedly more likely to be given to government-friendly outlets.

The MEPs highlight the need for stricter controls on European Union (EU) spending and want concerns over taxpayers’ money being used to enrich those close to the ruling party to be addressed immediately. According to the European Parliament, the frustration of citizens in Bulgaria is increasing over systemic political corruption.

Similar street protests against the autocratic rulers are intensifying in many countries including Russia, Israel, Belarus, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, and the U.S.

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Rakesh Raman