A meeting of the council of Bulgaria’s ruling coalition on January 14 nominated United Patriots MP Emil “Revizoro” Dimitrov to succeed Neno Dimov as Minister of Environment and Water.
The decision came four days after Dimov submitted his resignation as it was announced he was facing charges of criminal mismanagement in connection with the water shortages in the town of Pernik. The resignation was immediately accepted by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
Dimov had been arrested on January 9, and on January 11 the Special Criminal Court, in a ruling subject to appeal, remanded him in custody pending the outcome of his trial.
Dimitrov, born in Pernik, has a degree in economics from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia and a law degree from South-West University in Blagoevgrad. Because of his early career as an auditor employed by the state, he has the nickname “Revizoro” (Ревизоро, ‘Auditor’), which he also used as the title of one of his books.
At the time of the Kostov government in the 1990s, he was dismissed because of allegations he made about irregularities in the customs service. He was appointed head of the Customs Agency in 2001 at the time of the Saxe-Coburg government, but resigned the following year in protest against the contract with British company Crown Agents, which was brought in to assist with customs reform.
In October 2014, he was elected to Parliament on the ticket of the Patriotic Front, made up of Valeri Simeonov’s National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria and Krassimir Karakachanov’s VMRO. In 2017, he was returned as an MP for the United Patriots, which since its subsequent split now consists of the NFSB and VMRO.
Dimitrov is not a member of the parliamentary committee on the environment, and nor has he tabled any bills in connection with the environment.
The resignation of Dimov is subject to approval by the National Assembly and it, along with the nomination of Dimitrov, are expected to tabled when Parliament resumes after the winter recess. Dimov was nominated to Prime Minister Borissov’s Cabinet by the United Patriots, which was why his replacement was a matter for negotiation between Borissov’s GERB party and the ultra-nationalist grouping.
After the January 14 coalition council meeting, Karakachanov reiterated his view that the group did not accept the role of “scapegoat” handed to Dimov, arguing that others had played a role in the situation that led to the water crisis in Pernik. At the January 11 court hearing that led to Dimov being remanded in custody, his counsel had advanced a similar argument.
Should the National Assembly accept the resignation of Dimov, it would be the ninth time that a change to the third Borissov government, which came into office in 2017, has been approved.
(Screenshot of Dimitrov: BNT)