Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev handed on May 23 the mandate to form the next cabinet to socialist prime minister-designate Plamen Oresharski.
Oresharski, the former finance minister in the socialist-led government between 2005 and 2009, was nominated as Bulgarian Socialist Party’s (BSP) prime minister-designate even before the start of the election campaign ahead of the May 12 parliamentary polls.
In addition to the 84 socialist MPs, Oresharski is expected to receive the support of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which has 36 MPs in the 240-seat legislature. MRF and BSP leaderships met on May 23 to start talks on the government programme.
The exact details of the “Oresharski plan”, as the programme has been dubbed by the local media, will be hammered out in the coming days. At least one of the proposals in the socialist electoral manifesto, the introduction of a higher tax rate on higher incomes, will be dropped because MRF opposed it.
Asked about which areas of the economy his government would target first, Oresharski said that health care and energy sectors will receive full attention, but declined to offer specific measures that would be pursued, saying that his cabinet would first need to “diagnose” the situation.
Oresharski said that he would not sign formal coalition agreements with other political parties, including the MRF, instead seeking to gain their support for the government programme.
He said that his ministers would be “experts” in their respective fields, but some of them were likely to have political experience. He declined to offer the names of future ministers, saying that he needed several days to discuss the issue with the prospective candidates. “I need a day or two, not to consider the individuals, but to consult with them,” Oresharski said.
Concerning the exact date that Parliament would vote on Oresharski’s proposed cabinet line-up, the prime minister-designate said that he would do his utmost to complete the process before the end of the seven-day period envisioned by law. Pressed on the issue, he said that it could happen on May 28 or May 29.
MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan suggested earlier in the day that Parliament could hold a special sitting on May 27 – this is the next working day in Bulgaria, as May 24 is a public holiday. However, President Plevneliev had commitments abroad that he could not postpone – he is visiting Germany – so the earliest date is May 28, Mestan said.
(Left to right: President Rossen Plevneliev, prime minister-designate Plamen Oresharski, BSP leader Sergei Stanishev. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)