Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has scheduled early parliamentary elections for March 26, a notice on the president’s website said on January 24. Radev also appointed lawyer and former parliament speaker Professor Ognyan Gerdzhikov as the prime minister of the caretaker government that will function until a regular one is formed after the elections.
Supported by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), former air force commander Radev won the second round of the presidential elections on November 13, defeating the candidate of the ruling centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). On November 14, Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko Borissov submitted the resignation of the government to the parliament.
Gerdzhikov was parliament speaker between July 2001 and February 2005. He had to leave the post early after 119 lawmakers in the 240-seat assembly supported the move. The dismissal was allegedly because of Gerdzhikov’s regular exceeding his rights and failing to meet his obligations at the position. He was MP twice while affiliated with NDSV, an acronym that originally stood for National Movement Simeon II – a party of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Simeon II).
Meanwhile, at least eight of the people invited by Radev have agreed to become ministers in the caretaker government, Dnevnik daily reported.
Deputy Finance Minister Kiril Ananiev has reportedly agreed to be the new finance minister. He has been deputy finance minister in five governments and his appointment is seen as guaranteeing continuity.
Radi Naidenov, currently Bulgaria’s ambassador to Germany and formerly chief of the prime minister’s cabinet during the term of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, has agreed to become minister of foreign affairs, the daily reported.
Radev also dissolved the parliament as of January 27, two months before the election is due to take place.
A recent poll by Market Links showed that GERB has a narrow lead ahead of the election. If elections were held on the day of the survey, 24% of the respondents would vote for GERB. The BSP had the support of 21.2%. The united patriots were third with 8%, followed by Volya (Will), the new party founded by businessman Vesselin Mareshki, with 4.1%. The opposition predominantly ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) was supported by 4% of the respondents.
A hypothetical party launched by showman Slavi Trifonov was supported by 3.3% and was followed by GERB’s former coalition partner the Reformist Bloc (3.2%), the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB, 1.3%) and the left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV, 1.2%). 1.2% would vote for the newly founded party Yes Bulgaria, a project of former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov.
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