Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki appointed 16 deputy ministers on August 11, announcing also that his cabinet would not feature a minister tasked with overseeing electoral preparations.
The issue of a minister without portfolio, who would be tasked solely with ensuring that the October 5 early elections were held in a fair fashion, was hotly debated at the weekend, following President Rossen Plevneliev’s announcement on August 8 that he appointed judge Krassimira Medarova to the post.
Two days later, Medarova withdrew her name following criticism that her track record as a member of the Central Electoral Commission raised questions about her impartiality.
Bliznashki said on August 11, in an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) due to be aired later in the evening, that he personally would oversee the preparations for the October 5 elections.
He said that Medarova was a good choice for the position, but the caretaker cabinet decided not to press ahead with her nomination when faced with public opposition, according to a statement by the government’s media office.
Bliznashki said that his cabinet would “create a normal environment to hold elections” and would not allow a repeat of the controversy that overshadowed the election day in May 2013, dubbed the “Kostinbrod affair” by the country’s media.
Also on August 11, the Bliznashki administration approved the elections budget, allocating 26 million leva (about 13.3 million euro) for the October 5 snap polls. The money would come from “restructuring the spending side” of the state Budget, the government said.
Meanwhile, the Bliznashki cabinet continued to take shape with the appointment of 16 deputy ministers, with more expected to follow, as some caretaker have ministers yet to nominate their deputies. The appointments thus far are:
– Radoslav Roussev, Angel Petrov and Yordanka Chobanova as deputy regional development ministers
– Georgi Savov as deputy minister for investment planning
– Lidia Neicheva as deputy health care minister
– Temenouzhka Petkova as deputy finance minister
– Filip Gounev, Andrei Yankoulov and Kiril Hadjihristev as deputy interior ministers
– Dessislava Yossifova and Pavel Anastassov as deputy defence ministers
– Katya Todorova as deputy foreign minister
– Kamen Spassov as deputy transport minister
– Georgi Kostov and Marina Brakalova as deputy agriculture ministers
– Petya Evtimova as deputy labour minister
Filip Gounev, Angel Petrov and Lidia Neicheva held the same position in the caretaker cabinet of prime minister Marin Raykov in March-May 2013, while Katya Todorova was deputy foreign minister in the Simeon Saxe-Coburg government in 2002/05.
(Caretaker PM Georgi Bliznashki, left. Photo: government.bg)