Bulgaria’s centre-right coalition the Reformist Bloc has postponed the announcement of its candidate for the country’s November 6 presidential elections by a week, to September 8.
The executive council of the Reformist Bloc, a group of five parties, was due to meet on September 2 to decide on the nomination, but would now meet on September 8, according to Meglena Kouneva, leader of bloc constituent party the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement.
The postponement came a day after the Reformist Bloc’s leaders were said by Naiden Zelenogorski, another constituent party leader, to have recommended the nomination of Traicho Traikov for president, with General Subi Subev as his vice-presidential candidate.
Dissension in the bloc about the presidential nomination issue again became clear when, soon after the announcement about Traikov, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, Bozhidar Lukarski, distanced himself from it.
The Reformist Bloc is in a politically anomalous situation. Most of its constituent parties support, and participate in, Borissov’s coalition government formed in November 2014. However, one bloc party, Radan Kanev’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, has been in opposition to the Borissov government since late 2015.
On top of this complicated situation, the bloc has been struggling for several weeks to try to reach consensus on a presidential candidate, and has missed a self-imposed deadline of the end of August to do so.
On September 2, Kouneva said that Traikov was gathering more support than all other possible Reformist Bloc presidential candidates.
Kouneva, a deputy prime minister in Prime Minister and GERB party leader Boiko Borissov’s coalition Cabinet, denied allegations that Borissov had intervened in the issue of the Reformist Bloc’s presidential candidate nomination.
GERB has yet to announce its presidential candidate, and says that it will do so on October 2.
The Central Election Commission has said that it will begin accepting nomination documents of presidential and vice-presidential candidates on September 9 and will continue to accept them until 5pm on October 4.
Traikov, in a September 2 television interview, expressed confidence that he had the support of all parties in the Reformist Bloc. He said that this included the UDF, which he said had said that the irony in Lukarski’s words had not been understood and that they supported Traikov.
Traikov quoted the aphorism (by Oscar Wilde): “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends”.