Borissov: I could have been President years ago if I wanted

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on May 27 that he did not see himself as the unifying right-wing candidate for president that the country’s right-wing parties are calling for.

Bulgaria is due to hold presidential elections in late October or early November 2016. Incumbent head of state Rossen Plevneliev has said that he will not be a candidate. No major political party has named its candidate.

Speaking to reporters, Borissov, whose centre-right GERB party is the majority partner in the coalition government and which nominated Plevneliev in 2011, said that his party would name its candidate in September.

This is a change from Borissov’s recent statements that the candidate would be announced at the end of June.

Responding on May 27 to a comment by the Reformist Bloc’s Kassim Dal that Borissov’s name could unite right-wing voters, Borissov said that GERB had enough people who were capable of being unifying candidates.

Had he wanted to, he could have been elected President years ago, Borissov said. He added that had he chosen to do so, he would not have been “as useful” as he is now, in his current position.

Borissov said that one option for the GERB nomination had been Plevneliev. Bulgaria’s constitution allows a President to serve a second and final term as head of state.

Borissov said of Plevneliev, “I would have talked to him first, but he has his personal reasons (for not standing again) so this subject should be dropped”.

Petar Stoyanov, the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces figure who was president of Bulgaria from 1997 to January 2002, when he left office after failing to win re-election, was not an option because he had no ambition to seek the presidency again, according to Borissov.

On the matter of announcing the GERB candidate only in September, Borissov said that he had been going to make the announcement earlier, “but now I am sick of the state not functioning, everyone is conducting a presidential campaign”.

Recently, there has been repeated speculation that Borissov would enter the presidential race in the autumn, moving from his role as head of government to a post as head of state which is largely ceremonial, although with a few limited constitutional powers.

Various names have been mentioned as possibly to be nominated as GERB’s presidential candidate, including current Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds, Tomislav Donchev.

Borissov has ruled out a nomination of GERB deputy leader and parliamentary group leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who had been expected to be GERB’s candidate in 2011 until Tsvetanov, then interior minister, became enmeshed in conspiracy and ultimately was replaced by Plevneliev.

Another senior GERB figure who has ruled herself out of the race is Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova.

On the left-wing of the Bulgarian political spectrum, the recently-elected leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, Kornelia Ninova, has said she will not be her party’s presidential candidate in the autumn.

The minority ABC socialist breakaway party, formerly a part of the governing coalition until its recent walkout, is reported to be in talks with the nationalist Patriotic Front, a governing coalition partner, on a joint presidential candidate.

ABC leader Georgi Purvanov, who was Bulgaria’s president for two terms from 2001 until January 2012, has raised eyebrows by publicly repeating his interpretation of the constitution, arguing that the two-term limit applies to only two consecutive terms and he could be eligible to seek a third.



The Sofia Globe staff

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