Plamen Nikolov, announced on July 30 as the Prime Minister-designate from Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party, listed the party’s “five first priorities” soon after receiving a mandate from President Roumen Radev to seek to form a government.
As Nikolov spoke, other parties and coalitions in the 46th National Assembly were pondering their reactions to his nomination, which came at the last minute after ITN dropped its earlier nominee, lawyer Petar Iliev.
Nikolov named the priorities as the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, the forthcoming Covid-19 crisis, recalculation of pensions, the introduction of a majoritarian electoral system, and judicial reform, which he said was “especially important for all of us”.
He did not commit to a deadline for unveiling Cabinet nominees.
ITN parliamentary leader Toshko Yordanov said that the Cabinet nominees would be announced in Parliament.
At the mandate-handing ceremony, Nikolov told Radev that he would keep to the deadline set in the constitution regarding an attempt to form a government.
The constitution gives the first recipient of a mandate seven days either to present a government for approval by Parliament, or to return the mandate, which then goes to the second-largest parliamentary group.
Yordanov said that the majority of the priorities named by Nikolov were backed by Democratic Bulgaria and “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming” and some of them by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
“If they recognise these priorities, they will vote for this Cabinet,” Yordanov said.
Democratic Bulgaria’s Borislav Sandov said that the way in which the nomination of Nikolov had become public was “not serious”
“We expected that there would be a conversation with us before the nomination of the Prime Minister,” Sandov said.
He asked why there had been no negotiations with the parties which were expected to form a parliamentary majority for a possible government headed by Nikolov.
Sandov’s comments came before Democratic Bulgaria and “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re coming” began a meeting to decide on a stance on the nomination.
On Friday evening, the Bulgarian Socialist Party national council was meeting to decide its stance. BSP leader Kornelia Ninova has, in recent days, repeatedly said that the party would want to know the names of the Prime Minister-designate and of the candidate Cabinet ministers before deciding whether or not to vote in favour of a government proposed by Trifonov’s party.
(Screenshot of Nikolov and Radev from BNT)
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