The executive council of the Reformist Bloc, the fourth-largest group in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, agreed on September 8 to nominate former economy and energy minister Traicho Traikov as the coalition’s candidate in Bulgaria’s November 6 2016 presidential elections.
The bloc’s vice-presidential candidate will be General Subi Subev.
The nominations of Traikov and Subev were proposed by the Reformist Bloc’s leaders’ council on September 1, but the Traikov proposal was subsequently publicly opposed by at least one of the bloc’s constituent parties, the Union of Democratic Forces.
On September 8, speaking after the executive council meeting, the bloc’s Ivan Ivanov that there was officially “white smoke” – a reference to the process whereby the election of a Pope is signalled.
The Reformist Bloc’s executive council is made up of 21 people, six representatives of the bloc’s civic council and proportional representation of the five political parties making up the bloc. Decisions are made by a three-quarters majority, meaning at least 16 votes when all members of the council are present.
Traikov said that his candidacy was a chance for voters who felt themselves to be patriots, democrats and Euro-Atlanticists. Asked if he thought he could make it to a second-round ballot, he said that he would be voting for himself.
UDF leader Bozhidar Lukarski, who after the leaders’ council meeting continued to push for their candidate Grozdan Karadzhov to be named as the Reformist Bloc’s presidential candidate, said that the UDF would follow the executive council decision and support the Traikov candidacy.
Under Bulgaria’s presidential election rules, a first-round victory is achieved if a candidate gets more than half of the votes of those who go to the ballot boxes. If this does not happen, a second round is held between the two candidates who got the most votes at the first round. In 2016, November 13 is pencilled in for a second round, if required.
Traikov (46) was Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister in Boiko Borissov’s government from 2009 to 2012, with his term ending ostensibly over a Bulgarian government business forum in Qatar in March 2012 having descended into farce because of poor organisation.
After his ousting from the Cabinet, Traikov made repeated media appearances, criticising Borissov’s government. Traikov joined the Reformist Bloc in 2013 and was elected a Sofia city councillor at the head of the bloc’s ticket in regular municipal elections in 2015.
A graduate of Sofia’s First English Language School, Traikov graduated in international economic relations at the University of National and World Economy in 1994. He worked in the financial analysis and management sector in Austria and Germany and from 2005 to 2009, for Austrian energy utility EVN Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria’s presidential elections in November, voters are being asked to choose a successor to Rossen Plevneliev, who is not standing for a second term after his time in office ends in January 2017.
Borissov’s GERB party has not yet named a candidate. It says it will do so on October 2.
The National Assembly’s second-largest party, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, is backing – through an “initiative committee” – Roumen Radev.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the third-largest party in the National Assembly, has not yet announced whether it will field a candidate or who it will be.
The nationalist Patriotic Front and Volen Siderov’s Ataka are nominating a joint ticket of Krassimir Karakachanov of the PF with Yavor Notev of Ataka as candidate vice-president.
Georgi Purvanov’s ABC initially had said it was endorsing Radev but has announced it will come up with its own candidate.
Earlier on September 8, the extra-parliamentary Movement 21 and the National Movement for Stability and Progress announced a joint ticket of Movement 21 leader Tatyana Doncheva, formerly a BSP MP, as its presidential candidate, with the NSMP’s Mincho Spasov as vice-presidential candidate.