Minority Government formed
Bulgaria’s new government headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) party was sworn in on July 27th. Bulgaria’s parliament expectedly approved the structure of the center-right government of Boyko Borisov, leader of the winner in the recent general elections CEDB party, voting 162-78. The center-right CEDB claimed 116 MP seats in July 5th vote, shattering Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev’s Socialist Party and falling just five seats short of holding a majority in the 240-seat unicameral parliament, which made it easy for it to enter a wide range of informal alliances. Three other smaller right-wing Bulgarian parties – the nationalist “ATTACK” party of Volen Siderov (21 MP seats), the rightist Blue Coalition of Ivan Kostov and Martin Dimitrov (15 MPs), and the conservative “Order, Law, Justice”(OLJ) party of Yane Yanev (10 MPs) – supported the minority government of CEDB. Thus the government was approved by a sufficient number of members of parliament, way above the 121 votes required by the Bulgarian constitution. The formerly ruling Socialist Party and its coalition partner the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms voted against the cabinet. Borisov’s CEDB government is Bulgaria’s second minority cabinet since 1989 after the one, headed by Filip Dimitrov (1991-1992).
The new Bulgarian government consists of sixteen ministers: Former senior World Bank economist Simeon Djankov is the new Minister of Finance. The CEDB party Chair Tsvetan Tsvetanov is the new Interior Minister. Djankov and Tsvetanov will be the two Deputy Prime Ministers. Sofia Deputy Mayor Yordanka Fandakova is becoming Minister of Education. The biggest surprise in the new government is Traycho Traykov, procurist of EVN electricity distribution company, who will head the Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism. Sculptor Vezhdi Rashidov will be the Minister of Culture, former MEP Nikolay Mladenov - Defense Minister, and prosecutor Margarita Popova - Justice Minister. MEP Rumiana Jeleva is taking over the Foreign Ministry, and the Mayor of the city of Vratsa Totyu Mladenov - the Social and Labor Ministry.
Bozhidar Nanev, CEDB MP and surgeon at Varna University Hospital will be in charge of the Health Ministry. Construction businessman Rosen Plevneliev will be Regional Development Minister. Environment consultant Nona Karadzhova is the next Environment Minister.
Alexander Tsvetkov, currently Deputy Mayor of the capital Sofia, will be the new Transport Minister. Miroslav Naidenov is taking over the Agriculture Ministry, after MP Dessislava Taneva withdrew her nomination in the last minute. Bozhidar Dimitrov, the director of Bulgaria’s National History Museum is going to be Minister without a portfolio in charge of the Bulgarian citizens abroad. Svilen Neykov, Bulgarian rowing champion and coach and husband of Bulgarian Beijing Olympics gold medalist Rumyana Neykova, will be in charge of the newly created Sports Ministry.
Analysis and forecast (↑ increasing risk)
The new Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov decided to undertake the whole political responsibility and to constitute a single-party government despite the fact that it will be 5 MPs short of parliamentary majority. After the general elections instead of forming a coalition, CEDB has offered a cooperation memorandum to rightist parties, aiming that it makes it clear that the opposition should only be BSP and the MRF. Currently there are some reservations regarding CEDB’s decision to form a minority government. The leader of the UDF (part of the center-right Blue Coalition), Martin Dimitrov, stated that a minority government at a time of crisis is an experiment which should not be undertaken. Representatives of DSB (the part of the Blue Coalition) also stated that the memorandum offered by CEDB is far from guaranteeing stability of the government. However, CEDB will be offered support from the parties because, otherwise, the mandate goes to BSP. The concern here lies with the decision-making in these hard times since Bulgaria needs extraordinary political stability right now, not running-around looking for support for every single issue.
According to the Blue Coalition leaders this provides opportunities in which the government could be blackmailed. However, as of now, the small right-wing parliamentary parties have no reason to deny support of the minority government of CEDB. There is a public expectation for this as well as a tacit approval of the EU. A cabinet like that one could offer stable governing for a period of, at most, 6 months to a year, given the political situation in Bulgaria. After that, by mid-2010, PM Borisov and CEDB will probably be forced to form a coalition with one of the right-wing parties in order to guarantee a stable majority in the Parliament. By 2011, it is very likely that the enormous public expectations of CEDB will have not been fulfilled and in their place a public discontent with the party will have risen. Given there is a rising climate of change in Bulgaria, and in that year both local and presidential elections will be taking place, Borisov will most probably run for president. That move in combination with the lack of a stable parliamentary majority could lead the current government to fall and provoke early elections. However, this time elections could not be for a new government but rather a Grand National Assembly that has the power to change the Constitution of Bulgaria and the Presidential powers and limitations. Having in mind that Borisov will most probably not have a contender that could swipe him off the presidential seat, he could, in this scenario, have ascertain himself a longer period, in which he could be the principal leader of the country.