Bulgaria’s ITN presents proposed ministers amid uncertain support

Bulgaria’s ITN presents proposed ministers amid uncertain support
TV host Slavi Trifonov says his ITN party wants a government of experts.
By bne IntelliNews August 4, 2021

Plamen Nikolov, the candidate for premier of Bulgaria’s There Are Such People (ITN) party of popular showman Slavi Trifonov, presented on August 3 the candidates for ministers to the three political parties from which ITN says it would seek support.

Nikolov’s nomination has raised controversy as he has no political experience or known positions related to Bulgaria’s main problems. He was picked as an MP for ITN at a casting for politicians back in 2018. At the time, Trifonov’s team staged the casting to pick politicians for its future political project.

However, an agreement between the party and the two other anti-establishment parties – reformist Democratic Bulgaria (DB) and Stand up BG! We Are Coming! (ISBG) seems far from likely due to the refusal of ITN to sign a document pledging to undertake specific reforms.

Only the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) seems ready to back ITN’s government, leaving the door wide open for speculations whether Trifonov’s party has a secret agreement with the ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) or the former decade-ruling Gerb.

DB and ISBG have set as a key condition for their support to get guarantees that neither DPS, nor Gerb will be involved in the government.

Both DB and ISBG commented that they will discuss the proposed ministers and will decide whether to back ITN’s cabinet.

Vladislav Panev of the DB said after the meeting with Nikolov that the chance for support by the formation is no more than 50%. His comment was live broadcasted by Dnevnik news outlet. Panev declined to provide further information, saying that DB’s MPs will now discuss ITN’s proposed government to decide on its future steps.

Meanwhile, one of DB’s leaders – Hristo Ivanov – did not attend the meeting with ITN for the presentation of the government.

“First of all, I do not participate in staging. Second, due to the informational character of this meeting we have decided not to participate on a leadership level,” Ivanov commented.

Another DB member, the municipal council and judge Metodi Lalov, commented on Facebook that protests are likely in the autumn. Similar were the expectations of people disappointed by ITN’s unexpected moves against DB. Several days earlier, the party attacked DB and to a lesser extent ISBG after the two formations said they would require a written document guaranteeing the pledged reforms, as well as to know the names of proposed ministers to decide on their support.

That was once again confirmed on August 3 by ITN’s deputy-leader Toshko Yordanov.

“We presented to the other parties the project for cabinet. This meeting was not intended to have a dialogue on who would be in and who would not. This is our proposal. These are the people. We have stated in the beginning, after the election, that we shall not sign a coalition agreement. The parties have different requirements on this so there is no agreement on a common document under which everyone would sign,” Yordanov said.

Meanwhile, BSP will say on August 4 whether it would back ITN’s government but its leader Kornelia Ninova said the party does not see any influence of DPS or Gerb in the proposed government.

ISBG’s MP Nikolai Hadzhigenov said there is a chance for the formation to back the proposed government but it should be discussed first.

Gerb’s leader Boyko Borissov said earlier on August 3 his party would vote against the government.

Theoretically, ITN can get enough support for its government if backed by BSP and DPS. Together, the three parties would have 130 out of 240 MPs. So far, DPS has not commented on what it intends to do.