Bulgaria: GERB-UDF’s Maria Gabriel presents proposed government

GERB-UDF’s Prime Minister-designate Maria Gabriel presented a proposed government to President Roumen Radev on March 19, though there was no immediate clarity whether it will win sufficient support in Parliament to be voted into office.

Gabriel presented the proposed government a day after GERB-UDF, as the largest parliamentary group, received the first mandate to seek to form a government.

The ceremony of returning the mandate was held shortly after 4pm, after extended hours of negotiations between GERB-UDF and We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria.

Unlike the March 18 ceremony, at which Gabriel and the rest of the GERB-UDF negotiating team were accompanied by outgoing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov of We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov, on March 19 only the GERB-UDF team arrived to meet Radev.

Gabriel told Radev that the two coalitions had no differences on policy priorities.

However, a bone of contention has been the line-up of a proposed government, and GERB-UDF and WCC-DB have wrangled over whether the Movement for Rights and Freedoms could have a role in changing the leadership of the country’s regulatory bodies.

The proposed government Gabriel presented included WCC-DB figures, including those from the Denkov government, though portfolios such as defence and energy were proposed to be taken by GERB-UDF figures.

  • Prime Minister and Foreign Minister – Maria Gabriel
  • Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs – Nikolai Denkov
  • Minister of Finance – Assen Vassilev
  • Minister of Interior – Kalin Stoyanov
  • Minister of Regional Development – Andrey Tsekov
  • Minister of Labour – Ivanka Shalapatova
  • Minister of Defence – Hristo Gadzhev
  • Minister of Justice – Atanas Slavov
  • Minister of Education – Galin Tsokov
  • Minister of Health – Katya Paneva
  • Minister of Culture – Krastyo Krastev
  • Minister of Environment and Water – Ivelina Vasileva
  • Minister of Agriculture – Kiril Vatev
  • Minister of Transport – Georgi Gvozdeikov
  • Minister of Innovation and Growth – Rossen Zhelyazkov
  • Minister of Economy – Bogdan Bogdanov
  • Minister of Energy – Zhecho Stankov
  • Minister of e-government – Valentin Mundrov
  • Minister of Tourism – Zaritsa Dinkova
  • Minister of Youth and Sports – Dimitar Iliev

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Radev, Gabriel said: “”I personally signed the agreement two days ago”.

Raya Nazaryan, a member of the GERB-UDF negotiating team, told reporters: “Yesterday at 6pm, it was also approved by Mr. Hristo Ivanov. After half an hour, after it was already signed by Mrs. Gabriel, the other leaders from the coalition refused to sign it”.

Gabriel, asked what kind of support she relies on in Parliament, said: “All those parliamentary groups that put the national interest above the party interest.”

In a brief comment before heading into an evening meeting of WCC-DB, Denkov said: “This is a cabinet of the GERB-UDF, it is not a cabinet that has been agreed with the WCC-DB, the agreement has not been agreed with us”.

We are surprised by what was done, DB co-leader Atanas Atanassov said.

The Sofia Globe staff

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