Nominee to succeed Simeonov as one of Bulgaria’s deputy prime ministers named

If Bulgaria’s Parliament agrees in a vote reportedly scheduled for November 21, United Patriots co-leader Valeri Simeonov – who resigned as deputy prime minister on November 16 after a month of protests over offensive comments he made about protesting mothers of children with disabilities – will be succeeded by his chief of staff, Mariana Nikolova.

This emerged in reports on the evening of November 20, after talks between Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, and his minority partners in government, the grouping of ultra-nationalist and far-right parties that is the United Patriots.

The approval of Simeonov’s resignation and of Nikolova’s appointment to replace him will be the first item of the sitting of the National Assembly scheduled for November 21, according to a report by Bulgarian National Television.

On November 20, there were five hours of talks about what to do after Simeonov’s resignation. The talks first involved Borissov, and then the co-leaders of the United Patriots.

Reportedly, the Nikolova nomination had not been agreed with one of the United Patriots’ co-leaders, Ataka’s Volen Siderov, although when he left the Tuesday talks he said that the minority partner continued to support the continuation of the governing coalition.

Nikolova, a lawyer, has been Simeonov’s chief of staff since May 2017, when the third Borissov government came to power.

For months there has been open fractiousness in the United Patriots, including about what to do in the wake of Simeonov’s resignation from government. A report by Bulgarian National Radio after the United Patriots’ meeting quoted an unnamed source as saying, on the issue of a successor to Simeonov, “there is a name, but there is no agreement”.

After the United Patriots meeting on the afternoon of November 20, Siderov made just a few comments, while Simeonov and the third co-leader, Krassimir Karakachanov, declined to speak for the record.



The Sofia Globe staff

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