Deputy PM Donchev ‘possible’ replacement for Kalfin in labour post

The parties in Bulgaria’s governing coalition have given “full support” for the labour and social policy portfolio vacated by Ivailo Kalfin when his ABC party quit the government, to be handed to another deputy prime minister, Tomislav Donchev.

This is according to Tsvetan Tsvetanov, parliamentary leader of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, who said that he had discussed the issue with the Reformist Bloc and Patriotic Front after being mandated to do so by Borissov.

Tsvetanov described the appointment of Donchev to the portfolio as “possible”, adding that the final decision lay with Borissov and Donchev himself.

When Bulgaria’s current government was formed in 2014, there were four deputy prime ministers – Donchev and Roumyana Buchvarova from GERB, Meglena Kouneva from the Reformist Bloc and Kalfin from ABC.

On May 10, ABC said it was withdrawing its support from the government, disgruntled over a lack of dialogue in the coalition. Kalfin resigned as deputy PM and labour and social policy minister the same day.

Tsvetanov said that Borissov would put forward a proposal regarding filling the labour and social policy portfolio “today or next week”.

Donchev, who also was a member of Borissov’s first Cabinet, holds the EU funds management portfolio.

His name has been mentioned as possibly GERB’s candidate in Bulgaria’s presidential elections in the autumn. GERB is not expected to announce its candidate before July.

Should Donchev be nominated as a presidential candidate and vacate his Cabinet post, the vacancy would be considerable – a post as deputy prime minister, in charge of the use of EU funds, and also of labour and social policy.

If the labour and social policy portfolio is transferred to Donchev, it would be the third time in the current Borissov Cabinet that such a transfer has taken place.

When Borissov’s first interior minister in his 2014 Cabinet resigned, the portfolio was handed to Roumyana Buchvarova, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of coalition policy.

When subsequently the education minister was forced out by Borissov, that portfolio went to Deputy Prime Minister, who already had the European affairs portfolio.

Meanwhile, on May 12, talks were proceeding among GERB, the Patriotic Front and the Reformist Bloc on a response to President Rossen Plevneliev’s veto of recently-approved election law rules on Bulgarians voting abroad.

The Patriotic Front’s Valeri Simeonov, who has said repeatedly that his coalition would withdraw its support from the government unless the National Assembly overturns Plevneliev’s veto, said that the talks were about coming up with new amendments.

(Photo: Donchev, left, holding rifle, with PM Borissov and Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev at a military exercise earlier in 2016)



The Sofia Globe staff

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