Bulgarian Parliament fails to elect central bank governor

Bulgaria’s National Assembly did not approve on April 15 the nomination of Lyubomir Karimanski, head of the parliamentary budget committee, as the next governor of the Bulgarian National Bank, a move that is likely to further inflame disagreements within the country’s ruling coalition.

Karimanski’s nomination was voted twice and received 59 votes in favour, with 36 opposed and 140 MPs abstaining in the final vote. In the initial vote, the nomination had 58 votes in favour, with 36 opposed and 84 abstaining.

The votes in favour came from ITN, the party on whose ticket Karimanski was elected, and the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

The bulk of those opposed were from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, part of the four-way ruling coalition alongside ITN, and the smallest party in the National Assembly, pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane.

Several MPs from We Continue the Change (WCC) and Democratic Bulgaria, also in the ruling coalition, voted against Karimanski, but most of the MPs in the two groups abstained.

The largest opposition party GERB did not take part in the initial vote, which MP Toma Bikov described as a test of unity in the ruling coalition. In the re-vote, GERB MPs mainly abstained, with one voting in favour.

The vote was preceded by a three-hour debate that saw opposition parties use the opportunity to take shots at the ruling coalition, rather than discuss the substance of the motion.

MPs from GERB repeatedly sought to highlight dissent within the ruling coalition, while Vuzrazhdane criticised the government’s commitment to adopting the euro.

In brief remarks following the vote, a visibly-irritated Karimanski appeared to imply that the failure of coalition partners, chiefly the WCC, to back his nomination would have repercussions going forward.

“Trust is very valuable capital. I do not know if we know this lesson, I doubt that we do. I also do not know if it was worth to expend so much trust so readily. I am addressing the colleagues in the middle, you will surely learn this lesson in the coming days, months and years,” he said.

WCC had its own candidate for the position, Andrei Gyurov, who withdrew his nomination at the weekend – a move seen as attempting to pressure Karimanski into withdrawing as well, rather than clearing the way for his appointment.

With Parliament not appointing Karimanski, incumbent central bank governor Dimitar Radev, whose six-year term expired last summer, will continue to hold the office until MPs choose his successor.

(Top photo of Lyubomir Karimanski and screengrab of the breakdown of the vote on the motion from parliament.bg)

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