The discussion was prompted by the recent developments in the Interior Ministry involving the detention of the deputy head of the service fighting organized crime following leakage of incriminating information about links with suspicious groups, the arrest of a former Interior Ministry chief secretary over abuse of office and two killings in as many days in Sofia, one of a business man and the other of a writer, BTA is reporting.
According to Ognyan Minchev of the Institute for International and Regional Studies, in the present situation society needs to show whether it is able to take things in its own hands and carry out something resembling Operation Clean Hands in Italy in the 1980s when several magistrates began uncovering a series of bribery scandals. In order for this to happen, there needs to be a clear snapshot of the current situation, public self-mobilization and firm and irrevocable transformation of the situation, Minchev argued. In his view the cause of the crisis is the absence of an adequate national elite which is united and has a vision about the state.
The elite: political, economic and intellectual, does not have a vision about the state and is divided into tribal structures at war with one another, Minchev said.
Antonii Todorov of the Bulgarian Association for Political Sciences said that if a decisive change is not made the state will find itself in a real crisis. For the change to happen, there need to be political consensus, support from the EU, as well as by the media and the public opinion, Todorov said.
Peter-Emil Mitev of the Ivan Hadjiiski Institute for Social Values and Structures argued that there are equal chances of going in either direction: reforming the system or covering everything up. According to Mitev the matter is in the regulatory framework but also in people. The society no longer believes that a single person is capable of setting things right. The Hercules who will clean the Augean stables does not exist, according to Mitev. Rather, the labour can only be done by a community of people, he argued.
In his view, the ruling three-party coalition is at stakes and if it fails to solve the crisis in a worthy manner, it will be rightly described as unprincipled.
Georgi Karasimeonov of the Institute for Political and Legal Studies argued that this time there are real chances for a change since the pressure for it is stronger: there is the internal pressure from the legal business and part of the civil society and the external pressure from the EU. He also said that the environment is changing, there comes a new generation and the path for reforms is open.
Karasimeonov stressed that the mistrust of the members of the public in key institutions such as the Interior Ministry and the judiciary, particularly to their key functions: ensuring security and justice, is a sure sign of crisis of statehood. Unless a tangible turnover is achieved, Bulgaria faces the danger of becoming the only EU member state with a safeguard clause, which in his view, is a very serious blow.