Bulgarian Politicians Comment on New PM Designate

Business | August 1, 2021, Sunday // 12:05|  views

Bulgarian politicians on Saturday commented on the designation of Plamen Nikolov by the largest parliamentary party, There Is Such a People (TISP). On Friday, Nikolov received a cabinet-forming mandate from President Rumen Radev.

Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev (speaking to journalists in Gela Village near Smolyan, South Central Bulgaria): Given the fact that the number of MPs on which a future cabinet can count is not very clear right now, the personality of the prime minister designate is crucial for getting the expected support in Parliament to form a government. Yanev does not know Nikolov and wishes him success, the guts, and the quality to lead. Reaching a consensus will show the degree to which this government will be effective and stay in office long enough to carry out the necessary reforms. If that does not happen, the alternative would be some kind of crisis - a deeper political crisis, or even the emergence of an interinstitutional crisis. The caretaker PM hopes that MPs will find the strength and wisdom to build and support the necessary coalitions, majorities or other interest-based groups, so that a stable government can be formed that would live up to Bulgarians' expectations of change and continuing the reforms started by the caretaker Cabinet. The priorities listed by the prime minister designate overlap with the caretaker Cabinet's accomplishments. Work on preparing for a future COVID-19 wave and the Recovery and Resilience Plan has largely been done. From now on, this work can only be carried on.

TISP Floor Leader Toshko Yordanov (interviewed on Nova Television and on bTV): Plamen Nikolov is extremely well educated. If he is elected PM and when he discharges his official duties in the EU, we will not be embarrassed. Nikolov is an expert professional, communicative, a person with whom dialogue is possible. TISP has not held expert meetings with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and will not hold talks with them, either. The votes in support of the new cabinet are more logically to be expected from BSP for Bulgaria. Yordanov hopes that at least one of the other protest parties (Democratic Bulgaria and Rise Up BG! Here We Come!) to honour its commitment and vote for the priorities specified together with TISP.

TISP MP Filip Stanev (interviewed on Bulgarian National Television): Plamen Nikolov's MP designation was not a last-minute decision, it was made 12 days ago. Peter Iliev was never designated, so he cannot possibly be withdrawn. TISP does not regard holding power as an end in itself. The proposed Council of Ministers will not include members of the present caretaker Cabinet or nominees of BSP for Bulgaria, Democratic Bulgaria or Rise Up BG! Here We Come!, but it will include people from the first line-up, headed by Nikolay Vassilev and unveiled by party leader Slavi Trifonov on July 12, right after polling day. The candidate members of the TISP government will not be made public before the proposed cabinet is laid before Parliament for approval.

GERB leader and former prime minister Boyko Borissov (speaking to journalists in Kotel, Southeastern Bulgaria): TISP should have designated their leader Slavi Trifonov for prime minister. If necessary, when the cabinet is put to the vote, GERB-UDF will walk out of the debating chamber to cut the quorum so that they would have a government elected and take on the responsibility. After third parliamentary elections, forming a cabinet would be even more impossible than now. The protest parties already hate and mistrust each other more than they do GERB. GERB will not hold talks with the other parliamentary parties. If GERB's turn comes, as the second largest parliamentary party, to be mandated to form a cabinet, Borissov will not even send people to the President to return the mandate. BTA

Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova (talking to journalists on Bouzloudja Peak in the Central Balkan Range): Plamen Nikolov was on the TISP negotiating team with whom the Socialists met for consultations on education policies. At the meeting, Nikolov demonstrated competence and willingness to engage in dialogue. Of course, this is not enough, which is why the Left will invite him on Tuesday to a joint meeting of the BSP for Bulgaria Parliamentary Group and the coalition partners. The Socialist would like to hear him and get guarantees that what they agreed on during the negotiations will be implemented by the future cabinet.

Democratic Bulgaria MP Borislav Sandov (interviewed on bTV): It is absurd that we should find out who the TISP prime minister designate is when he is handed the mandate by the President. It is absurd that there should be no detailed programme to be signed by the people representing that party. It is absurd that the TISP Chairman should not enter into negotiations with the chairpersons of the rest of the parties. What Democratic Bulgaria wants to see is ideas and a government structure and programme rather than a particular person. What matters most to Democratic Bulgaria is TISP's governance programme and whether Trifonov can sign it. The Council of Ministers structure and lineup will hopefully be subject to preliminary discussions and negotiations. So far Democratic Bulgaria has not held serious negotiations with TISP. Democratic Bulgaria want their relations with TISP to move ahead, to be guarantors, to be sure that what they are presented with is real.

Rise Up BG! Here We Come! MP Arman Babikyan (interviewed on bTV): Babikyan would like to see a success of the first cabinet-forming mandate that the head of State handed on Friday. He does not know Nikolov but likes his profile, combining science and business. Nobody gives anybody unqualified support.

Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Yordan Tsonev (interviewed on Nova Television): TISP told us that they do not want our support, even though they familiarized us with their priorities. We replied: 'Once you don't want support, you won't get any.' Our decision is to wait for the end of the negotiations and see the government line-up. If we have to make our contribution without participating, we would do so. The name list, though, is immensely important.

Vice President Iliana Iotova (talking to journalists in Popovi Livadi Village, Southeastern Bulgaria): Plamen Nikolov's PM designation presents a completely new situation and a formula for the future cabinet. By this move, TISP have now committed themselves at party and political level to a future government. The line-up of the proposed cabinet has yet to be seen, but the designation of Nikolov, who is a TISP MP, implies a more responsible approach and a more serious political commitment on the part of TISP. Iotova hopes that the emotions will subside in the coming week and TISP will find allies and a parliamentary majority. The President executed his constitutional powers, he was following the political situation very carefully and pocked the most appropriate time to hand the government-forming mandate./BTA


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Tags: Bulgaria, TISP, government, PM designate


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