Plamen Oresharski, designated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party as its prime minister-designate, found himself presenting a slightly changed list when he met President Rossen Plevneliev on May 28 to hand over the names of his proposed cabinet.
Oresharski said that his nominee for the new post of investment projects minister was Ivan Danov – initially, he fluffed the name as “Ivan Dimov” – a change made after an uproar over the first nominee for the post, Kalin Tiholov, led Tiholov to withdraw.
Tiholov pulled out just a few hours before Oresharski’s scheduled meeting with Plevneliev after Bulgarian media and online forums linked him to a previous controversy about alleged unlawful development on an ecologically sensitive dune area along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
In an open letter posted by Bulgarian news agency Bgnes, Tiholov said that he was withdrawing because of the “dirty” campaign against him. It already had been announced that a social network group was organising a public protest against the nomination of Tiholov and other candidate ministers.
Danov is an architecture professor at Sofia’s university of architecture, an academic background similar to that of Tiholov.
Accompanied to the Presidency office by socialist leader Sergei Stanishev, Oresharski presented the nominations for the cabinet, which in turn will be presented to Parliament for approval on May 29.
Initial plans to table the proposal for the cabinet in the National Assembly on May 28 were delayed, apparently in reaction to uncertainty about whether the voting process would succeed.
The BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms have 120 out of the 240 seats in the National Assembly. While procedurally it could be possible for this to prove sufficient to vote in the government, it remained unclear what the two other parties – GERB, with the largest single share of seats, and Ataka, the smallest party – would do. Reports said that there was concern that the National Assembly could be denied a quorum to begin the process of voting on the cabinet.
In counterpoint, GERB leader Boiko Borissov voiced suspicions about what “tricks” would be used to vote in the cabinet.
Ataka had been invited to consultations with BSP leadership on May 27, but did not attend.