Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdzhikov said at the beginning of what is expected to be the last formal scheduled sitting of his goverment that he did not know why he felt very festive.
His May 3 comment came a few weeks after he was reported to have likened his feeling towards his last few days in office to waiting in a barracks for conscription to end.
While Gerdzhikov portrayed, at a May 2 news conference, his caretaker administration as having been a success, it has been involved in controversies such as that over draft proposed legislation – swiftly removed from the Justice Ministry website – that envisaged a domicile requirement for voting in parliamentary and presidential elections.
Critics have underlined the reported apparently assertive role that President Roumen Radev has had in relation to the Gerdzhikov administration. Given Radev’s military background – he is a former general commanding the air force – Gerdzhikov’s reported comment about feeling that he was awaiting the close of his days in the barracks may seem to fall into place.
As the caretaker cabinet, in office since January 27, held its last sitting, Bulgaria was waiting for GERB party leader Boiko Borissov to announce the members of the coalition cabinet his party is forming with the nationalist United Patriots.
Gerdzhikov said at the start of the caretaker cabinet meeting that it would not be overly lengthy and the “cabinet will be able to finish its work tomorrow”.
Plans are for Borissov to meet head of state Radev on the morning of May 4 to formally present him with the proposed structure and composition of his coalition cabinet.
In line with the procedures set out in Bulgaria’s constitution, Radev will the same morning present this proposed cabinet to the National Assembly, to be voted into office.
GERB has 95 MPs, the United Patriots 27, and Vesselin Mareshki’s Volya party, with 12 MPs – which while not part of the coalition has pledged support for voting Borissov’s third government into office – together have sufficient votes to get the new cabinet elected.
Should the vote in Parliament proceed in line with the plans, Bulgaria will have a new elected government by sunset on May 4.
By the late morning of May 3, it was not clear when Borissov would make the names of his ministers public.
On May 2, United Patriots co-leader Krassimir Karakachanov said that some of the names of the ministers would be surprises. Speculation in recent weeks in the Bulgarian-language media about the names and portfolios had been inaccurate, he said.
Some days ago, Karakachanov said that in the coalition cabinet, there would be four deputy prime ministers and 17 cabinet ministers.
Radev handed Borissov a mandate on April 27 to seek to form a government. The constitution provides a seven-day deadline for Borissov to present a proposed government, or to return the mandate to Radev for handing on to the next-largest party in the National Assembly.