Bulgaria’s legislators on Tuesday elected a new government led by Nikolai Denkov, who was nominated by the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) coalition, more than two months after the country’s early parliamentary elections.
Denkov, 60, 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 from January to May 2017, and held the same post in Kiril Petkov’s government from May to December 2021.
“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,” Denkov told the legislators.
“This is a government for the European development of Bulgaria. That’s its goal,” he said.
The cabinet was backed by 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.
GERB-UDF’s support was not gratuitous. According to an agreement reached by the two coalitions, GERB-UDF’s representative, Mariya Gabriel, recent 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 was Bulgaria’s fifth parliamentary election in two years. Three of the previous four Parliaments had 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, told Xinhua just after the elections 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.