Bulgarian Parliament Approves New Ministers in Cabinet Change

(Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria’s parliament approved three new ministers in Premier Boyko Borissov’s government after its handling of a deadly bus crash triggered a shakeup and criticism over its ability to run state institutions.

The Aug. 25 accident, which killed 17 people when the bus they were riding in skidded off a mountain road into a gorge, has fueled heated debates in the European Union’s poorest and most-corrupt member state. It led to brief jostling between Borissov’s Gerb party and its nationalist ruling-coalition partners, whose leader rescinded a threat to step down this month over the departure of the interior, transport and regional development members.

Lawmakers appointed Rossen Zhelyazkov as transportation minister, Petya Avramova in the regional development role and Mladen Marinov as interior minister, Deputy Parliament Speaker Emil Hristov said Thursday in the assembly in Sofia.

“As the government advances through its term, there’s an inevitable accumulation of negative publicity and tension,” Evelina Slavova, an analyst at Trend Research Center in Sofia, said by phone. “But the government’s fall is an unrealistic scenario at this point.”

Zhelyazkov, 50, is a lawyer and former head of the Communications Regulation Commission, while Marinov, 46, is a career policeman who previously served as the ministry’s chief secretary. Avramova, 55, is an ex-lawmaker from the ruling Gerb party.

Parliament’s vote on the changes was held up by a week after President Rumen Radev deferred signing the decree to relieve Marinov of his duties as the ministry’s chief secretary, citing procedural reasons.

The delay underscored tension between the president and Borissov, who has pledged to improve living standards and work to adopt the euro as he leads his third cabinet since 2009.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.