Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Ninova refuses Borissov’s offer of Parliament Speaker’s chair

Bulgarian centre-right GERB party leader Boiko Borissov, winner of the March 27 parliamentary elections, has offered Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova the post of Speaker of the National Assembly – but she turned it down, saying that the BSP would be a “firm opposition” in Parliament.

Borissov presented the offer to Ninova in April 11 face-to-face talks, held at his request, and billed as discussing priority policy issues including Bulgaria’s holding of the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2018.

The GERB leader, whose party will have 95 seats in the National Assembly to the BSP’s 80, said that he had made the offer to Ninova because of her party’s “good result” in the March 26 election.

Borissov said that this was not a matter of proposing a coalition with the BSP. Both he and Ninova repeatedly, during the election campaign and after the result, have insisted that a GERB-BSP coalition government will not happen.

GERB leader Boiko Borissov.

At the talks, Borissov was accompanied by senior GERB members Tsvetan Tsvetan, Tomislav Donchev and Delyan Dobrev, among others, while Ninova was accompanied by Valeri Zhablyanov.

The discussions covered security issues and the EU Presidency, reporters were told at the meeting.

Negotiations currently are proceeding between GERB and the nationalist United Patriots on the formation of a coalition government, which would have the support of 122 out of 240 MPs.

Participants in the GERB-United Patriots talks have announced a succession of agreements on issues, including difficult matters such as minimum pensions and the energy sector, while they have insisted that they have not discussed Cabinet posts, the nomination of a new Bulgarian European Commissioner, and who will be Speaker of Parliament.

Tsetska Tsacheva of GERB twice was elected Speaker, in 2009 and again in 2014. Tsacheva, who lost the 2016 presidential elections to socialist-backed Roumen Radev, was – through the use of preferential voting by GERB supporters – not re-elected to the National Assembly in the March 2017 elections.

It is possible that Tsacheva may be returned to the National Assembly if GERB’s Ivailo Moskovski is appointed to the Cabinet and resigns as an MP, but currently it is seen as highly unlikely that any arrangement will be made for Tsacheva again to be Parliament’s principal presiding officer.




Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.