The Head of State: I will return the agenda to the long-term goals of the nation, far beyond the horizon of political mandates

2022-01-19 11:24:00

Democracy and the rule of law are the foundations that we must restore, Rumen Radev said in his first address to the people and the National Assembly after being sworn in for a second presidential term

'The current crises, which are being exacerbated and used by backstage forces, should not distract the attention from strategic priorities. It is my duty as Head of State to return the agenda to the long-term goals of the nation, far beyond the horizon of political mandates: curbing the demographic crisis, tackling poverty and inequality, raising the standard and quality of life, spiritual development; guaranteeing sovereignty and security, defending national interests and dignity, and promoting this country's positive image abroad.' This is what Head of State Rumen Radev said in his first address to the people and the National Assembly after he and Iliana Iotova were sworn in before the 47th Parliament for a second term as President and Vice President.

In his speech, Radev stressed that the Bulgarians' support was the most fitting tribute to the difficult decisions the two took during their first fire-year tenure. 'The first presidential term came at a dramatic time, when the old, authoritarian model of governance was reaching its apogee, while public resentment was growing at the corruption, lawlessness and propaganda on which it rested,' Radev added and pointed to the 2020 protests ' against the one-man rule, the feudalisation on the ground, the scheming, the prosecutorial umbrella over abuse and the crooked mirror of the media. Against the poverty, hopelessness and lawlessness.' The President noted that the citizens' expectations from the presidential institution far exceeded the powers that the Constitution assigns to it. 'We had to both catalyse social transformation and be a pillar of stability in a period of acute crisis of confidence in the political class,' he said.

In Radev's words, the protests unleashed the process of restoring democracy and the rule of law, but the dismantling of the bequeathed power model will take time. Among the challenges facing society in the years to come, the president mentioned the restoration of confidence in the institutions, partisan administration, corrupt media, corruption with impunity, abuse of power and dramatic social stratification. ' It is naïve to think that, after more than a decade of allowing corruption to grow and arbitrariness to proliferate, we will put Bulgaria back on the track of law and democracy overnight,' he added.

The Head of State said that the first precondition for the success of society is individual freedom and dignity. 'Democracy and the rule of law are the foundations that we must restore,' Radev specified. He expressed the conviction that there is an anti-mafia consensus in Bulgaria uniting the overwhelming majority of honest Bulgarians, and although the citizens had voted for many different parties, they were guided by a single hope: justice and legality.

'The country should not be governed from now on through the screen, under the table, on the phone or covertly. Corruption must be broken down if we are to survive as a country and a society,' Radev stressed adding that there is a historic opportunity to bring Bulgaria back into the rule of law. According to him, all other good intentions depend on it and without strengthening the state, our country cannot fulfil its enormous potential. 'Parties and politicians who share the cause of establishing the rule of law and a healthy and transparent media environment in Bulgaria, of building a well-ordered state with effective institutions, can count on the understanding and support of the presidential institution,' the President said repeating that without a quick, decisive breakthrough in the reform of the prosecution and the judiciary, the way will be open for a revenge of the status quo.

The President called for a clear political will and constitutional changes that must not be limited to a revision of the judiciary towards responsible and effective prosecution, but should include extending citizen participation in the governance of the state and strengthening guarantees for the protection of human rights. 'Three decades after the beginning of democratic change, we should show maturity in our conviction that the the human being is the fundamental constitutional value,' Radev added that democracy is incompatible with public apathy. In the President's words, statehood consolidation requires enhanced constitutional guarantees for the division of powers and a transparent and predictable law-making process.

Dealing with the demographic downturn is another strategic objective that requires consensus, Radev said. 'This nation is experiencing the transition as a trauma comparable to war. It is time for long-term, financially secure policies to increase fertility with a focus on responsible parenthood, reduced mortality and curbed emigration. Charity is no substitute for state care. The market and PR cannot compensate for the lack of working social mechanisms,' Radev explained. According to him, there should be a consensus around the cause of an enlightened and educated nation. 'This is a long-term investment that will not bring political dividends to this generation of statesmen. But it is a duty and a historic task that cannot be postponed,' the President noted. He also called for a change in the healthcare status quo towards a quality and accessible healthcare where patient health is not a commodity and young doctors and nurses do not leave Bulgaria.

In his speech the President pointed to the need of an accelerated transformation towards a new economic model based on science, innovation and high added value industries as well as the provision of clean, affordable and predictable energy. The President also insisted on a stable and predictable regulatory environment, protection of property and competition, encouragement of entrepreneurship and investment.

In his address, the President said that the government is 'dominated' by a cascade of crises and their social and economic impacts. 'I remain open to dialogue and share responsibility for tough and unpopular but necessary solutions. I will, however, continue to be critical when I find the decisions of the legislature and the executive to be wrong,' President Radev said in his speech to the people and the National Assembly.


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