Radev auditions candidate caretaker PMs as Bulgaria heads to early elections

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on March 28 that he was starting today with meetings with all the potential caretaker Prime Ministers specified in the constitution.

This follows the failure of the process to seek to form a new government, a failure that obliges the head of state to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister and decree a date for early parliamentary elections.

According to Bulgaria’s constitution, as amended in 2023, in naming a caretaker Prime Minister, the head of state must choose from a list – the Speaker of the National Assembly, the governor and deputy governor of central Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman and head and deputy head of the Audit Office.

Previously, the constitution gave the head of state to choose a caretaker Prime Minister.

Radev said that he was ready to do everything possible to speed up the process of forming an caretaker cabinet and not lead to a constitutional crisis.

“In this regard, the President’s packed international program for the next 10 days has been postponed,” the Presidency said.

Of the list, two are not an option to be appointed caretaker PM. Ombudsman Diana Kovacheva is to take up a post as a judge on the European Court of Human Rights, while on March 27, it was announced that Elena Cherneva–Markova had resigned as Deputy Ombudsman “for personal reasons”.

Cherneva-Markova was the only one of the candidates not to have clear political links, either to GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria or the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

Bulgarian National Radio reported on March 28 that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Rossen Zhelyazkov, was seen entering the Presidency for a meeting with Radev.

However, GERB-UDF leader Boiko Borissov told reporters on March 28 that he would “not allow in any way” Zhelyazkov to be appointed caretaker PM.

“And I really hope that the President does not name Dimitar Glavchev either, because they would be connected in some way with GERB,” Borissov said.

Glavchev, current head of the Audit Office, is a former GERB MP and in 2017 was Speaker of the National Assembly, nominated by Borissov’s party.

“Because the whole campaign will pass as if we are in charge,” Borissov said.

The GERB leader added that together with the WCC-DB they could offer the President a “workable solution” for the caretaker Cabinet.

On March 28, Radev held a succession of meetings, with Zhelyazkov, Bulgarian National Bank governor Dimitar Radev, and the Audit Office’s Glavchev.

Zhelyazkov left the Presidency building after the meeting without speaking to reporters.

Dimitar Radev said that Bulgarian and European law on central banks made it unlawful to him to accept a political role. The same principle would apply to his three deputies, he said. If any of the top central bank officials accepted the post of caretaker PM, they would not be able to return to BNB after the caretaker government leaves office.

Glavchev did not speak to reporters after meeting Roumen Radev.

Roumen Radev said that the meetings with those on the list of potential caretaker Prime Ministers would continue in the coming days, including the weekend if necessary.

Please help keep The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism alive by clicking on the button below and signing up to become a supporter on patreon.com. Becoming a patron of The Sofia Globe costs as little as three euro a month or the equivalent in other currencies.

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292