Bulgarian parties approve coalition agreement, cabinet

Bulgarian PM Borissov will discuss the issue in Brussels on Thursday (4 December). [Dnevnik]

The two centre-right political forces in Bulgaria have agreed a coalition agreement yesterday (6 November) and will form a minority government, supported by a small centre-left party, and a nationalist force.

Boyko Borissov, leader of the centre-right GERB party (Citizens for a European Development of Bulgaria), will be the first Bulgarian politician to return to power in the country’s 25-year turbulent transition from communism.

In the 5 October parliamentary election, Borissov’s GERB won 32.7% of the vote, more than twice as much as their main Socialist opponents. A total of eight parties entered the the 240-seat parliament:

  • GERB (Citizens for a European Development of Bulgaria): 32.7%, 84 MPs
  • BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party): 15.4%, 39 MPs
  • DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms): 14.8%, 38 MPs
  • Reformist Bloc: 8.9%, 23 MPs
  • Patriotic Front: 7.3%, 19 MPs
  • Bulgaria without censorship: 5.7%, 15 MPs
  • Ataka: 4.5%, 11 MPs
  • ABV (Alternative for a Bulgarian Renaissance): 4.15%, 11 MPs

After long negotiations, Borissov secured a 7-page coalition agreement with the centre-right Reformist bloc. But as those two centre-right forces have 107 MPs, short of the majority of 121, two more parties agreed to support the cabinet. The centre-left ABV even obtained the post of Deputy Prime Minister for Ivailo Kalfin, a former MEP well-known for his role in negotiating the 2014-2020 EU budget on behalf of the S&D group.

But as the three forces together have 118 MEPs, the nationalist Patriotic Front offered its support, although it will not be represented in government. Last week, EPP chief Joseph Daul warned Borissov not to include the Patriotic Front in the cabinet.

>> Read:  EPP warns Bulgaria’s Borissov not to include nationalists in coalition

Meglena Kuneva, another familiar face in Brussels, will also be Deputy Prime Minister, representing the Reformist Bloc. Kuneva was the first Bulgarian Commissioner, in the period 2007-2009, and was representing a liberal party at the time.

Overall, the cabinet will have 18 ministers, 11 from GERB, 6 from the Reformist Bloc and one from ABV.

Rumyana Bachvarova (GERB) will be Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coalition policy and state administration, while Tomislav Donchev (GERB) will oversee the absorption of EU funds and economic policy. Donchev is at present an MEP, and will need to resign from the European Parliament.

Kuneva will be Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU affairs and the Mechanism of Coordination and Verification (CVM). Bulgaria and Romania are subject of CVM monitoring over deficiencies in their law-enforcement systems.

Kalfin will be Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of demographic and social policy.

Vladislav Goranov (GERB), who served as deputy finance minister in Borissov’s previous government (2009-2013), will take the finance ministry portfolio, while RB’s Bozhidar Lukarski will be Economy Minister.

The Reformist Bloc (RB) will be also represented by Daniel Mitov and Hristo Ivanov. Mitov, the Minister of Foreign Aaffairs in the current caretaker cabinet led by Georgi Bliznashki, will keep the same position in Borissov’s cabinet. Ivanov will also retain the post of Justice Minister, which he currently holds in the caretaker cabinet.

Other RB nominations in the new cabinet are Todor Tanev, Nikolai Nenchev and Petar Moskov. Tanev is taking education and science portfolio, Nenchev will be defence minister, while Moskov will be healthcare minister.

Veselin Vuchkov, who was deputy Interior Minister in Borissov’s previous government, will be the new Interior Minister.

Lilyana Pavlova, who served as Minister of Regional Development in Borissov’s previous cabinet, will take up the same post in the new government.

Borissov’s former Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski will hold the same portfolio in the new cabinet.

The Bulgarian Parliament is expected to vote the new cabinet today. Analysts see the coalition as fragile and predict that the cabinet would hardly survive a full term. 

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