Bulgaria’s Borissov announces names of GERB-United Patriots coalition cabinet
Bulgaria’s centre-right GERB party leader Boiko Borissov announced on May 3 2017 the portfolios and names in the GERB-United Patriots coalition cabinet to be put to the vote in the National Assembly on Thursday.
Several GERB ministers from Borissov’s previous coalition cabinet, that was in office from November 2014 to January 2017, return to his third government, albeit in some cases to different portfolios.
GERB ministers returning to their previous portfolios include the ministers of finance, energy, transport, tourism and sport.
Tsetska Tsacheva, twice Speaker of the National Assembly (in the 2009 and October 2014 parliaments) but who failed in 2016 as GERB’s presidential candidate and who was not re-elected to this Parliament, comes into the cabinet for the first time as Justice Minister. The holder of the latter portfolio in the second Borissov government, Ekaterina Zaharieva, moves to the Foreign Ministry but gets a promotion to Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of judicial reform.
Liliyana Pavlova, who was regional development and public works minister in two Borissov governments – first getting the post through a promotion when Rossen Plevneliev resigned to successfully stand in the 2011 presidential elections – will be minister in charge of Bulgaria’s EU presidency in 2018. In spite of expectations in some quarters, Pavlova was not handed deputy prime minister rank, though the caretaker minister with this portfolio had such rank. Quite obviously, it remains to be seen what happens to Pavlova after Bulgaria’s EU presidency ends after the first six months of 2018.
Borissov’s coalition minority partners, the nationalist United Patriots, get two out of four deputy prime ministerships, along with the defence, environment and economy ministries.
The deputy prime ministerships handed to Borissov’s nationalist partners are significant – one of the United Patriots’ co-leaders, Valeri Simeonov, will be in charge of economic and demographic policy. Another co-leader, Krassimir Karakachanov, will be in charge of public order and security as well as being Defence Minister.
The proposed cabinet is:
Prime Minister: Boiko Borissov
Deputy Prime Minister: Tomislav Donchev
Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of public order and security, and Defence Minister: Krassimir Karakachanov
Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of economic and demographic policy: Valeri Simeonov
Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of judicial reform, and Foreign Minister: Ekaterina Zaharieva
Finance: Vladislav Goranov
Interior: Valentin Radev
Regional Development: Nikolai Nenkov
Justice: Tsetska Tsacheva
Energy: Temenuzhka Petkova
Economy: Emil Karanikolov
Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU in 2018: Lilyana Pavlova
Transport: Ivailo Moskovski
Health: Nikolai Petrov
Labour and Social Policy: Bisser Petkov
Agriculture: Roumen Porozhanov
Environment: Neno Dimov
Education: Krassimir Vulchev
Tourism: Nikolina Angelkova
Culture: Boil Banov
Sport: Krassen Kralev
In the 44th National Assembly, elected on March 26 2017, Borissov’s GERB has 95 out of 240 seats and the United Patriots group has 27. This is just enough to get a government voted into office. The smallest group in the National Assembly, Vesselin Mareshki’s Volya party – not part of the coalition government deal – has promised to add their 12 votes.
The remaining two groups, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, are expected to vote against.
A key part of the coalition government agreement between Borissov’s party and the nationalist group is that the government should serve a full four-year term in office.