President-Prime Minister quarrels in Bulgaria might end in libel suit

The smouldering conflicts between Bulgarian president Georgi Parvanov and prime minister Borisov seems to see its preliminary ending in court. Following accusation by Borisov, Parvanov now threatens with a libel suit.

Earlier this month, the Bulgarian weekly “Galeria” published several tapes of telephone conversations of Vanyo Tanov, the head of the Bulgarian Customs Agency. The tapes – presumably recorded by the Bulgarian secret service – revealed that the government of Boris Borisov favoured specific individuals and companies with regard to appointments and investigations of irregularities. Even after a French government laboratory confirmed the authenticity of the tapes, prime minister Borisov still accuses president Parvanov of having plotted their forgery in order to bring down the government.

In response to the allegations, president Parvanov now threatened to bring Borisov before court and sue for libel; Parvanov therefore intends to approach the Bulgarian General Prosecutor in this matter. Borisov showed himself unimpressed, the Sofia News Agency quotes him saying “I think the Chief Prosecutor should not be the bugaboo of this country. So what if Parvanov approaches him?”.

An end to the scandal – dubbed “Tapegate” by the media – is even in the event of a court case quite unlikely and conflict can be assumed to continue until the next presidential elections in December 2011. Currently serving his second term, Parvanov is not allowed to run for office again. His recent activities, e.g. the foundation of a new political movement, however, point in the direction that Parvanov tries to remain a crucial player on the political stage and tries to remain his public profile.

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