Bulgarian MPs elected three deputy governors of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) to six-year terms on July 29, as two opposition parties joined the majority partner in the government coalition to provide the necessary number of votes.
Kalin Hristov will serve another term as deputy governor in charge of the issue department, which oversees Bulgaria’s currency board agreement and the lev’s peg to the euro, while Dimitar Kostov will move from the bank department to the bank supervision department and will be replaced in his old post by Nina Stoyanova.
Two of the nominees put forth by recently-elected BNB governor Dimitar Radev – Hristov and Kostov – ran into strong objections because both were on the central bank board last year, when the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets, Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), asked to be put under special supervision and later was declared insolvent.
MPs for GERB, the majority partner in the ruling coalition and the party that nominated Radev for the job, argued that the party was showing support for its own nominee and that Hristov and Kostov had no way of influencing the CCB situation because it was outside their official purviews. Two of its coalition partners – the centre-right Reformist Bloc and nationalist Patriotic Front – said that the two were tarred by association.
With not enough support from within the ruling coalition, the necessary votes to elect Kostov, the most controversial of the three nominees (he was finance minister in the socialist government of prime minister Zhan Videnov between January 1995 and February 1997, at a time when Bulgaria went through a banking crisis that saw several lenders collapse), came from opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and Bulgarian Democratic Centre groups. Some MPs from socialist splinter ABC, which is part of the government coalition, also voted in favour of the Hristov and Stoyanova nominations.
(BNB building photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)