Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party has named Plovdiv regional governor Zdravko Dimitrov as its candidate for mayor of Plovdiv in the autumn 2019 municipal elections.
The decision was announced on August 15 after a meeting of the GERB executive committee.
Incumbent mayor Ivan Totev, twice elected on a GERB ticket, announced weeks ago that he would not stand as a candidate for a third term as mayor. The party’s executive committee, at its August 15 meeting, decided that Totev would remain GERB regional co-ordinator in Plovdiv.
Born in Plovdiv on May 22 1963, Dimitrov completed school in the city and graduated from Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv in sports education, in 2002 adding a master’s degree in psychology from the same university.
In 2011, he was awarded a master’s degree in public administration from Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv and a master’s degree in financial management from the Dimitar A Tsenov Economics Academy in Svishtov.
A former CSKA basketball player, Dimitrov was president of Akademic Basketball Club in Plovdiv from 1994 to 2007. He is a member of the management board of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation and of the Sokol Hunters and Anglers Society in Plovdiv.
Dimitrov worked in the private sector from 1991 to 2007, in the latter year winning a four-year term as mayor of the West region of Plovdiv. A member of the 42nd and 43rd National Assemblies, he was appointed regional governor of Plovdiv in November 2011.
His career with GERB, in the context of the politics of Plovdiv, has been chequered. In July 2015, he was expelled from the GERB parliamentary group after announcing his candidacy as an independent against the party’s official candidate for mayor, Ivan Totev, in that year’s mayoral elections.
Totev won a second-round victory in 2015, while Dimitrov was eliminated at the first round, placing fourth with about 10 per cent of the vote. In spite of having gone against GERB, in November 2015 Dimitrov was again appointed by Borissov as regional governor of Plovdiv.
The August 15 GERB executive committee meeting saw two other mayoral candidate nominations.
Diana Ivanova, head of the clothing manufacturing vocational high school in Rousse, is to be GERB’s mayoral candidate in Bulgaria’s major city on the Danube, while Stanislav Dechev, an engineering graduate, former employee of the State Fund Agriculture and former Haskovo municipal councillor, is GERB’s mayoral candidate in Haskovo. The mayoral elections in 2015 in Rousse and Haskovo both were won by GERB, but with different candidates to the newly-named ones.