Bulgaria’s centre-right coalition cabinet headed by Boiko Borissov has, close to three weeks after taking office, replaced 24 of the country’s 28 regional governors.
Only the regional governors of Plovdiv, Varna, Haskovo and Silistra remained unchanged in the cabinet decision of November 26 2014.
Already, just before mid-August, the caretaker cabinet that was headed by Georgi Bliznashki replaced replaced five regional governors, appointing Dimitar Dimitrov as governor of Blagoevgrad district, Rozalin Petkov as Plovdiv governor, Simeon Ivanov as Rousse governor, Nina Petkova as Montana governor and Boiko Baltakov as governor of Pleven district.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party-Movement for Rights and Freedoms ruling axis that was in power from May 2013 to August 2014 made sweeping changes to regional governorships, in several cases – including Plovdiv – prompting public protests against appointees that residents felt were alien to them.
Of the 24 appointments made by the Borissov cabinet, most are linked to Borissov’s centre-right GERB party while a handful of the posts go to the parties supporting the cabinet that took office on November 7 2014.
That cabinet is the result of a GERB-Reformist Bloc agreement, has a deputy prime minister from Georgi Purvanov’s socialist breakaway ABC as a result of a GERB-ABC deal and also is supported, through a separate deal, by the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF).
The ABC party will get the regional governorship of Pazardzhik, the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (a Reformist Bloc constituent party) gets Sliven and Vidin, the Union of Democratic Forces (also a Reformist Bloc constituent party) gets the Black Sea city of Bourgas and Stara Zagora, while the National Party Freedom and Dignity of Korman Ismailov (also Reformist Bloc) gets the governship of the Sofia region.
The PF will have no regional governorships because it did not request any, while its reaction is awaited to someone from Ismailov’s party being appointed to the Sofia post.
Already, the PF has been threatening to withdraw its support from the Borissov cabinet over another appointment from Korman Ismailov’s party, that of Orhan Ismailov as deputy defence minister.
The appointee as Sofia regional governor is Vesselin Penev, deputy leader of Korman Ismailov’s party.
Local media said that there were tensions in the Reformist Bloc after one of its constituent parties, Meglena Kouneva’s Citizens for Bulgaria, got no regional governorships, even though it had been hoping that a representative of the party would get the Sofia governor’s post. Reports named the person that Kouneva’s party wanted to get the Sofia job as lawyer Stamen Yanev.
(Photo of Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet, November 2014: government.bg)