Bulgaria’s Harvard-Educated Premier-Elect Offers Cabinet Picks
(Bloomberg) -- Kiril Petkov, the upset winner of Bulgaria’s November election, has proposed a coalition government in his bid to stem more than a year of political paralysis in the European Union’s poorest member.
The 41-year-old entrepreneur, along with ally Assen Vassilev -- both Harvard Business School alumni -- led the centrist Continuing the Change party to a win over former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s Gerb on Nov. 14, the third election in a year for the Balkan country.
Petkov, nominated as Bulgaria’s next prime minister, and Vassilev, expected to become finance minister, have vowed to eradicate the endemic corruption that’s plagued Bulgaria and undercut its economy since the fall of communism.
They reached a deal on Friday for a cabinet with three other parties, and now control 134 of parliament’s 240 seats. The coalition also includes the Socialists, a liberal anti-graft coalition called Democratic Bulgaria, and the anti-establishment ITN party led by pop-folk singer and talk-show host Slavi Trifonov. The government may be approved by parliament as early as Monday.
“It’s time for the young Bulgarians abroad to see Bulgaria as a promising destination to return to,” Petkov told President Rumen Radev, who gave him the mandate to form a cabinet. “It’s time for our grandmothers and grandfathers, for our mothers and fathers, to see Bulgaria as a place where they can grow old in fairness, with fair pensions.”
The deal may prevent another year of political turmoil, which, along with the EU lowest coronavirus vaccination rate, has seen Bulgaria struggle to contain one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks of Covid-19. Only 26% of Bulgarians are fully inoculated.
The political crisis has also delayed the adoption of next year’s budget, and has hindered the approval of Bulgaria’s EU recovery plan.
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