Thursday, November 6, 2014 6:04 pm
Bulgarian political bruiser Boyko Borisov sealed his return as premier, agreeing a minority coalition that he hopes will have a “long life” and end a two-year political crisis in the EU’s poorest country.
“We all put up an enormous effort and made all necessary compromises with one single thing in mind: to form a government and avoid new snap elections,” Borisov said.
“GERB (Borisov’s party) participates in this cabinet with the best it has and I hope that it will have a long life,” he added.
Former bodyguard, firefighter and police chief Borisov, 55, was prime minister between 2009 and February 2013 when he stepped down during mass nationwide protests about poverty and corruption.
The subsequent technocrat government backed by the Socialists and the Turkish minority party lasted barely a year, resigning this July and precipitating yet more elections in October.
Borisov came first but with only 84 seats in the 240-seat parliament, forcing him into tough coalition talks that ended on Thursday with a deal with the right-wing Reformist Bloc with 23 lawmakers.
The two parties also secured support from two other formations, the moderate nationalist Patriotic Front and the centre-left ABV, giving Borisov potentially the support of 137 MPs in parliament.
The composition of the new administration was due to be put to the vote in parliament on Friday.
Apart from Borisov, it included 12 ministers from his GERB party, mostly ex-members of his previous cabinet, seven from the Reformist Bloc and one from ABV.
Meglena Kuneva, a former European commissioner from the Reformist Bloc, became deputy prime minister and will be in charge of EU affairs.
Two ministers in the outgoing interim administration — foreign minister Daniel Mitov and justice minister Hristo Ivanov — also kept their portfolios from the Reformist Bloc quota.
The finance portfolio went to Vladislav Goranov, a former deputy finance minister from GERB.
Analysts predict tough days ahead for the new cabinet — the third in less than two years — with instability and protests in the European Union’s poorest country likely to continue over the coming winter.
This week already, two people set themselves on fire in public places, their motives unknown but echoing a series of such incidents last year when eight people died.
Some of the major challenges are reviving the sluggish economy, revising this year’s budget and paying out guaranteed deposits to depositors of fourth-largest lender Corporate Commercial Bank pending its insolvency.