The U.S. embassy in Sofia on Monday threw its weight behind anti-corruption protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov as they poured into the streets for a fifth night straight.
Bulgaria is experiencing its biggest anti-government protests in seven years amid a growing corruption crisis that has exposed how oligarchs have exerted control over key parts of the state such as the judiciary and the security apparatus. The demonstrators’ main targets are Borissov and the country’s Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev.
Borissov is a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European leaders have avoided any criticism in the past days, despite the escalating scandal.
U.S. relations with Bulgaria are delicate. The two countries are NATO allies and America has conducted joint exercises with Bulgarian forces, but Washington also has concerns about the country’s deep historical ties to Moscow and its foot-dragging over diversification away from Russian energy supplies.
While the American embassy statement made no specific reference to the protesters’ demands that Borissov and Geshev resign, it left little doubt of where U.S. sympathies lay. “Every nation deserves a judicial system that is non-partisan and accountable to the rule of law. We support the Bulgarian people as you peacefully advocate for increased faith in your democratic system and promote the rule of law in Bulgaria. No one is above the law.”
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