Bulgarian PM's "right hand man" quits all leadership positions after Apartmentgate scandal

By bne IntelliNews May 30, 2019

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, known as Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s right hand and the second most powerful man in his ruling Gerb party, has resigned from all leadership positions, the party said in a statement on May 30.

The resignation comes after in March Tsvetanov left parliament over a scandal concerning the acquisitions of luxury apartments by politicians at very low prices. At the time he remained the deputy leader of the party and the head of its election committee.

Gerb did not say why Tsvetanov left the party’s leadership, but said the resignation was accepted by Borissov.

Tsvetanov said in a Facebook post that he has been considering this decision for some time, but decided to resign after the May 26 European Parliament election in order to preserve the party’s stability ahead of the vote. Gerb won around 31% of the votes, way ahead of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

“After a conversation with the leader of the political party Gerb Boyko Borissov I decided that the right thing is to resign,” Tsvetanov wrote.

The scandal, which cost Tsvetanov his positions, broke in March, when independent investigative news outlet Bivol.bg along with Radio Free Europe and an investigative NGO published information that Tsvetanov had bought an extremely luxurious apartment in Sofia for less than 25% of its market value.

In the following days, the scandal spread. The anti-corruption NGO Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF), in cooperation with Radio Free Europe and Bivol.bg, revealed that other top Gerb members, including Justice Minister Tstetska Tsacheva, Deputy Minister of Sport Vanya Koleva, Deputy Energy Minister Georgi Parvanov and Vezhdi Rashidov, head of the parliament’s committee on culture and a former culture minister, had all acquired luxury apartments built by the same company, Artex Engineering, for well below market value.

At the time, Tsvetanov claimed he was a victim of untrue information published by the media. He said also that he was like any other Bulgarian, asking reporters at the press conference in the parliament’s building if everything they have done was moral and legal.

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