Bulgaria’s We Continue the Change party names former education minister as candidate PM

The Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) party said on December 15 that former education minister Nikolai Denkov would be its candidate prime minister.

As the National Assembly’s second-largest parliamentary group, WCC is next in line to receive a mandate from the President to seek to form a government, after the National Assembly rejected the government proposed by the largest group, GERB-UDF.

President Roumen Radev, in Brussels on December 15 for a meeting of the European Council, has not said when he will hand the mandate to WCC.

The intention to nominate Denkov – former deputy education minister in 2014-2016, served as caretaker education minister in 2017 and May-December 2021, and who was education minister in the 2021/22 Petkov government – comes against a background of WCC and Democratic Bulgaria reportedly agreeing not to nominate a party leader as the candidate PM.

WCC and Democratic Bulgaria have said that they intend nominating a minority government.

The parliamentary groups that have made clear that they will vote against the government proposed by WCC are GERB-UDF (67 MPs), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (36) and Vuzrazhdane (27) – in all, 130 out of the 240-seat Parliament. For a government to be voted into office, a simple majority of MPs present in the House is needed.

Denkov told a news conference: “We are starting talks with all political forces, the idea is to see together what can unite us and for those who are ready to support such a government, to make a commitment that they will work for the implementation of the policies that we set”.

He said that he would send send a letter of invitation to all parliamentary groups for a general meeting.

According to him, this is the only basis on which a stable government and a Parliament that works for the people can be built.

Vassilev said that WCC is making every effort for the government nominated with the second mandate to be voted into office.

“The process we are organizing is for everyone to sit around a common table, if that is possible and if they are willing,” Vassilev said.

He said that four out of seven groups had agreed to talks – WCC, Democratic Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Bulgaria Ascending.

“This is not enough for the support for a cabinet, but it is a good start,” he said.

“We are seeking agreement on policies, then on the structure and the composition of the cabinet”

Whenever WCC receives the mandate from Radev, it will have seven days to fulfil it, presenting the President with a proposed structure and line-up of a cabinet to table in Parliament for a vote. On December 15, Parliament voted for an unusually short Festive Season recess, from December 24 to January 2.

(Screenshot of Denkov: BNT)

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