There will be changes to Bulgaria’s cabinet but these had not yet been discussed with the two parliamentary groups supporting the government, Plamen Oresharski said on May 30 at a news conference after the votes of the ruling axis defeated a motion of no confidence in the government.
Oresharski, appointed just more than a year ago to sit in the prime minister’s chair in the cabinet appointed with the mandate handed to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was speaking five days after Bulgarian voters put the BSP in a poor second place in European Parliament elections.
Asked which portfolios were the weakest, Oresharski said that he would carry out an evaluation and present his motives for the changes to the cabinet that were needed, also taking into account that one of the cabinet ministers would become an MEP.
This was a reference to Iskra Mihailova of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, who is being handed the MEP seat that controversial figure Delyan Peevski has declined to take up.
Oresharski, who along with the cabinet has been the subject of a widely-supported public campaign for several months demanding resignation and early elections, said that if he had doubts about himself, he would resign.
“Actually, my resignation has been in my pocket from the first day that I became prime minister,” he said.
To have “my resignation in my pocket” is a commonly-used expression in the language of Bulgarian politics and is only infrequently acted on.
Oresharski, pressed by reporters on how many cabinet ministers would be changed, indicated that it would be less than five.
Earlier, Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Lyutvi Mestan denied speculation that his party would use the fact that it had improved its electoral position, running close behind its BSP partner on May 25, to seek an expansion of the posts it held.
Currently, three cabinet ministers are from the MRF.
Mestan said that the new environment minister would be “young, elegant and with flourish” but, in response to questions from reporters, denied that the portfolio would handed to Peevski (some months ago, Peevski referred to himself as a young and successful man of 33).
On May 29, unconfirmed reports in the Bulgarian media said that cabinet changes were being delayed because of dilly-dallying on the part of the BSP, whose leader Sergei Stanishev had not yet decided what to do.
Mestan said that obviously, his BSP colleagues needed a little more time to carry out their analysis, and he would remain in Sofia at the weekend should the BSP leader want to speak to him.
Meanwhile, in his reaction after the defeat of the motion of no confidence on May 30 – the fourth that GERB has tabled against the government – party leader Boiko Borissov said that given that those in power had failed to comply with the vote of the people on May 25 and had disregarded financial, economic and all other arguments, “from now on I never want to be asked for national consensus, will not sit at a table, on a chair, to negotiate with spectacular words about the future of Bulgaria”.
Borissov said that the vote by the BSP and MRF to support the current cabinet showed that they were willing to do anything to stay in power.
“These people have shown that just to be in power, they are willing to turn their back on the votes of people,” he said, adding that even though Stanishev had been pushed down in the BSP MEP candidate list through preferential voting (he was replaced by a hitherto obscure young politician in what the BSP says was the result of voters misunderstanding the ballot-marking process), “Stanishev wants to rule Bulgaria”.
Borissov repeated that the only sensible move was for the government to resign, for parliamentary elections to be held and for all parties to demonstrate behaviour that was responsible towards the country, to get together at the negotiating table to come up with a stable government.