The race to succeed Ivan Iskrov as governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has started early, with one putative nominee seemingly backed by ruling party GERB meeting MPs on May 26.
Dimitar Radev, a former deputy finance minister who has worked for the International Monetary Fund since 2001, was described by GERB’s Menda Stoyanova, the chairperson of the budget committee in Parliament, as the “first nominee” for the job, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported.
Stoyanova said that the party sought “maximum support and consensus” for the upcoming election of the BNB governor, claiming that Radev’s meetings were meant to acquaint MPs with “the first nominee for BNB governor”, but did not clarify whether Radev would be GERB’s nomination for the job, BNT said.
Formally, the process to elect the central bank governor, under Bulgarian law, cannot start earlier than three months before the expiration of the incumbent’s term – which in this case means mid-July, with Iskrov’s second term expiring in October.
The provision was put into law following Iskrov’s re-election for a second term in 2009, when the outgoing legislature made the appointment more than four months in advance, which GERB – winners of the parliamentary election in July 2009 – made clear it planned to undo.
In a somewhat odd turn of events, Iskrov resigned and was appointed by Parliament a second time after being nominated by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov. Earlier this year, Borissov said that he did so at the time in order to “avoid rocking the boat” as the global financial crisis was unfolding.
At the IMF, Radev reportedly was head of a technical assistance mission working in the Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa region. Prior to that, he served as deputy finance minister both in the socialist cabinet of Zhan Videnov (on whose watch Bulgaria lived through a banking collapse and hyperinflation) and the centre-right cabinet of Ivan Kostov (which implemented banking reforms and a currency board in the aftermath of the 1996/97 banking crisis).
(Bulgarian National Bank photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)