Background

  • Bulgarian prosecutors charged opposition leader and former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev with mishandling seven classified reports that went missing during his term in power. Three of the documents were prepared by the National Security Agency, two by the interior ministry, one by the defence ministry and one by NATO.
  • Prosecutors declined to say what may have happened to the missing documents or give any more details about their contents, which they say are state secrets. Stanishev, the leader of the main opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, denied any wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated.
  • “There is no doubt that both the investigation office and the prosecutors' office work under enormous pressure from the executive power. They are carrying out a political order by it," Bulgaria’s Focus Information Agency quoted Stanishev as saying.

 

Analysis and Forecast

  • Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s center-right government is under pressure to show tangible results in fighting organised crime and graft ahead of a European Union review later this month. Failure to assure Brussels that the administration can restore rule of law could jeopardize some €11 billion in EU aid.
  • The charges against Stanishev, who served as premier from 2005 to 2009, are probably not enough to significantly boost Borisov’s waning popularity at a time of economic hardship. Had Stanishev been charged with something more substantial like influence trading or corruption, people’s thirst for justice may have been satisfied. Until Borisov does something that improves people's incomes, such operations will only have a limited impact.