Ally threatens to abandon Borisov over praise of Zhivkov
17.11.2010 @ 09:16 CET
An ally of Bulgaria's minority government has threatened to withdraw his support, criticising a statement by Prime Minister Boiko Borisov that praised former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov.
"We are one step away from turning into adversaries of the government," said former prime minister Ivan Kostov, who now leads Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria. The small centre-right party has no ministers in Mr Borisov's government but has supported the prime minister since he took office in July 2009.
Mr Kostov has, however, grown increasingly critical of Mr Borisov's economic performance and of what he sees as the latter's fear to implement reforms in health care, pensions and state administration.
Mr Borisov recently said in public: "It would be a tremendous success for any government to build one percent of what [Todor Zhivkov] has built for Bulgaria ... and achieve the economic growth of the state at that time."
Mr Borisov, a former policeman and bodyguard, owned the firm that provided security for Mr Zhivkov from the year he was forced to step down in 1989 till his death in 1998. Many Bulgarians have drawn parallels between the two men's coarse manners, folksy style and colloquial language.
"The fact that 20 years after Zhivkov's fall from power nobody has forgotten him shows that many things have been accomplished," said Mr Borisov. "It is also a fact that for 20 years now we have been just privatising what had been built during his time."
"This rehabilitation of Zhivkov – personally by the Bulgarian prime minister – is the only one in the history of our painful transition from communism to democracy," Mr Kostov told a meeting of his party. "It is an outrage for all Bulgarian democrats."