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.




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.