Bulgaria’s 44th National Assembly will hold its first sitting on April 19 2017, and the general election that produced it also produced a few generals among its members.
That is not quite as Ruritanian as its sounds. Of the 240 members of Parliament, a mere five have general officer’s rank.
Their number may be counted as including Boiko Borissov, who held the rank of general when he was Interior Ministry chief secretary. Assuming that the coalition government being formed by his GERB party and the nationalist United Patriots is voted into office – expected to happen in early May – Borissov, the prime minister-presumptive, will quit the members’ benches of Parliament for the Cabinet office.
Still, GERB will have two general officers – former Defence Chief General Konstantin Popov, and Vice Admiral Plamen Manushev.
The former Karlovo tank brigade commander, General Kolyo Milev, will sit for the Bulgarian Socialist Party and former Defence Chief General Simeon Simeonov will be in the Movement for Rights and Freedoms’ parliamentary group.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party will have both the oldest and youngest members of Parliament. Toma Tomov (74) will, as Bulgarian parliamentary custom dictates, preside over the opening sitting pending the election of a Speaker, because he is the oldest member. At the other end of the scale is Teodora Halacheva (25), whom Bulgarian-language media noted to be on the books of the Visage modelling agency.
The 44th National Assembly will have a lower number of lawyers than has been usual for Bulgarian legislatures of recent decades, a mere 27. But if it is any consolation, it will have a football referee, Gerb’s 29-year-old Stefan Apostolov.
Speaking of referees, GERB’s parliamentary group was due to meet in the early evening of April 18 to decide, among other things, on its candidate to be Speaker. The two names most frequently mentioned were those of Dimitar Glavchev, a chartered accountant and auditor who was Deputy Speaker of the previous Parliament, and Danail Kirilov, head of the legal affairs committee in the previous Parliament and one of the 27 lawyers.
Tsetska Tsacheva, whose defeat at the hands of socialist-backed Roumen Radev in Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections triggered the March 26 early parliamentary elections, and who was Speaker of the National Assembly twice – in 2009/13 and 2014/17 – was rejected by GERB’s electorate, who used preferential voting to send someone else to the legislature.
(Photo: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)