What should be on the new Bulgarian cabinet’s to-do list?
With Bulgaria’s 43rd National Assembly having voted to approve the new cabinet headed by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, there will be much more of urgency for the new government to deal with than the colour of their curtains in their offices in 1 Dondoukov Boulevard, Sofia.
Whatever the coalition government programme says, there are a number of clearly pressing issues facing the new cabinet – and, by extension, in some cases the new Parliament.
Many of these task arise from the mess left by the now-departed May 2013-August 2014 ruling axis. In some cases, it would be matter of pressing the rewind button; in others, dealing with issues long left unresolved by preceding governments, including the previous GERB government.
This would be their to-do list, either because they should, or would want to, or have to:
* The revision of Budget 2014. The caretaker cabinet came up with a version, but whether it will serve or will require further redrafting – or, politically, renegotiation, remains to be seen.
* Drafting and approval of Budget 2015, a matter that is running close to deadline.
* Decisions on Corporate Commercial Bank and on banking legislation, including to bring it into line with EU directives. Revocation by Bulgarian National Bank of Corpbank’s licence is hardly the end of the affair.
* The future of the leadership of Bulgarian National Bank. Incumbent Ivan Iskrov has been subject of calls from several political calls for his resignation, and has said he would be prepared to step down when the Corpbank issue is solved.
* The state energy regulator SEWRC, its future restructuring and, to squeeze an elephant into a tamarind seed, the energy sector as a whole.
* The unblocking of European Union funds and effective – meaning efficient and corruption-free – use of these funds.
* Continuing the work started by the caretaker cabinet in changing and reversing appointments, especially those made by the now-departed ruling axis; notably, but not limited to, the State Fund Agriculture, the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, the Invest Bulgaria Agency, the Food Safety Agency.
* Amending the Interior Ministry Act, to nullify the changes made by the former ruling axis.
* Amending the National Audit Office Act, to nullify the changes made by the former ruling axis.
* Rewriting the Election Act, to carry out as many fixes as possible to the version bequeathed by BSP MP Maya Manolova, to address issues such as what has emerged as the politically-awkward preferential voting option and to take on board – or not – concerns raised about voting abroad.
* Addressing the issue of diplomats abroad. The policy of the former GERB government of cleansing foreign service representation abroad of former State Security people was reversed by the BSP. Within the confines of the constitutional impossibility of lustration, the question of the “diplomat-agents” should return to the agenda.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)