Bulgaria elects new government led by Nikolai Denkov

Nikolai Denkov

6th June 2023 – (Sofia) Bulgaria’s legislators elected a new government led by Nikolai Denkov on Tuesday, more than two months after the country’s early parliamentary elections. Denkov, who was nominated by the We Continue the ChangeDemocratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) coalition, is a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned scientist in the field of chemistry. He was caretaker minister of education and science in 2017 and held the same post in Kiril Petkov’s government from May to December 2021.

In his address to legislators, Denkov said, “Today we break the long streak of fruitless elections … to give hope to the millions of Bulgarians who want Bulgaria to have a regular government and Parliament working for the benefit of people and businesses.” He also emphasised that the new government’s goal is “for the European development of Bulgaria.”

The cabinet received the support of 131 deputies in the 240-seat National Assembly, with 61 of them belonging to PP-DB and 68 to the largest parliamentary group, the GERB-UDF coalition. Two deputies of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms also supported the government.

According to an agreement reached by the two coalitions, GERB-UDF’s representative, Mariya Gabriel, recently European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, became the only deputy prime minister in the cabinet as well as foreign minister. She will take over from Denkov as prime minister after nine months.

This marks Bulgaria’s fifth parliamentary election in two years, with three of the previous four Parliaments having to be dissolved. A coalition cabinet led by Petkov, without the participation of the GERB-UDF, was formed after the elections held on Nov. 14, 2021, but it was ousted by a no-confidence vote in June 2022.

Kolyo Kolev, director of the Mediana polling agency and a leading political analyst, stated that at first glance, it seemed impossible for the GERB-UDF and the PP-DB to form a coalition because they had held their campaigns on the total negation of each other. However, “this is the fifth election in two years,” and a large part of the electorate was already fed up with such confrontation, so a coalition leading to a new government is also possible, Kolev said.