Bulgaria’s 43rd National Assembly voted on November 7 2014 to approve Boiko Borissov as Prime Minister. The vote was 149 in favour and 85 against.
With Borissov as Prime Minister, the coalition cabinet will include members from his GERB party, the Reformist Bloc and one member from socialist breakaway party ABC. The cabinet is supported by nationalist coalition the Patriotic Front (PF).
In a separate vote, the National Assembly approved the cabinet coming into office. The vote was 144 for, 83 against and with one abstention.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Borissov said that after a month of consultations, he was presenting a pro-European and reformist government.
It was pro-European “because we share the belief that Bulgaria has no other foreign policy scenarios than the Euro-Atlantic”.
It was reformist “because we find that the structure, the way of organisation and control in a number of sectors are irrevocably obsolete and do not meet the needs and demands of citizens”.
He said that the parties in the cabinet and those supporting it were taking on the responsibility to overcome the difficulties of blocked EU financing, a delay in the start of the new programming period, and a lack and delay of reforms in several areas as well as the lost trust of major partners.
“Our pro-European cabinet is backed by political and public consensus about the fact that the reforms are urgent,” Borissov said.
Addressing himself to those who had agreed to be involved in supporting the new government, Borissov expressed thanks to everyone who had taken the risk of political damage in the name of Bulgaria having a government.
Speaking for the Reformist Bloc, Radan Kanev said that the cabinet was the result of compromise.
“For all the compromises, we will pay a high political price, but every Bulgarian will benefit,” Kanev said.
He pledged that the Reformist Bloc would be uncompromising on its priority issues, including making a start to reform of the judicial system.
Valeri Simeonov, speaking for the PF, declared the coalition’s support, and said he was pleased the parties had come together around the idea of stabilising the country.
Borislav Borissov of ABC said that the government being elected was the result of a new approach and said that political culture in Bulgaria had achieved a higher stage of development.
Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Mihail Mikov said that his party was opposing the government, which he had heard some leaders say was being put in place to keep his party and the MRF from power – a goal, Mikov said, that would not solve the problems in Bulgarian society, which was divided not only in political but also in socio-economic terms.
MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan said that Bulgarian society and the country’s partners in the EU and Nato would not be deceived by what he described as a “crude and unprincipled collusion” that brought the PF into government. Voting the government into office would be the first act in 25 years to revise the “civilisational choice” of Bulgarian to develop as a modern Euro-Atlantic state, Mestan said. Elsewhere in Europe, the normal right and left were not teaming up with national populism and xenophobia, he said.
The proposed government also was opposed by Ataka. A group of Ataka supporters held a protest outside the National Assembly against the election of the government.
The programme declaration endorsed on November 6 by the parties involved in the government pledges rapid adoption of amendments to Budget 2014, the drafting and adoption of Budget 2015, a political decision to take part in the European Energy Union, the election of new members of the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, maintaining capacity for nuclear energy development and further construction of the South Stream pipeline – but only in full conformity with EU law.
Other priorities include, in the public finance sector, including taxation of operations on capital markets and preservation of the tax system.
It also pledges gradually increasing money for the education system, continuation of pension reform, completion of various infrastructure projects such as motorways and the drafting of a strategy to benefit rural villages.
The programmes envisages reforms in security and public order, including returning the Chief Directorate for Combating Organised Crime to the Interior Ministry – reversing changes made by the former ruling axis that was in power from May 2013 to August 2014. Political efforts to get Bulgaria admitted to the EU’s Schengen visa zone will be stepped up.
Reforms to the judiciary envisages the creation of a Supreme Judicial Council and a Supreme Prosecutorial Council.
The programme proposes setting up a fund for support of victims of natural disasters and accidents and expansion of the role of the armed forces in an integrated crisis response system.
In foreign policy, the programme declaration envisages increasing Bulgaria’s EU and Nato integration, and maintaining the country’s foreign political orientation and international commitments on the basis of Bulgaria’s national interests. Special attention will be paid to Bulgarians abroad, the programme declaration says.