The new Bulgarian government, which was constituted at the end of July, focused its first efforts on revealing corrupt practices of its forerunners from the government of BSP, NMSS and MRF. The new PM Boyko Borisov also used his first days in office for changing some key positions in different public institutions. New people were appointed as directors of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) and National Customs Agency. The new key appointments are Tsvetelin Yovchev (former top personnel of SANS) and the former director of the Main Department for Fight with Organized Criminality Gen. Vanyo Tanov. The new PM Borisov charged the new appointees with several important tasks followed by huge public and media interest. For instance Cvetelin Yovchev took an order to publish the case “Gallery” that deals with the scandal involving eavesdropping on journalists and MPs from the former parliament. PM Borisov charged Gen. Tanov with five priority tasks among which are stopping the contraband and bringing transparency in the Customs Agency’s work. Some more personnel changes are expected in key national institutions, among which is the National Health Insurance Fund.
Parallel with these actions the new ministers are reporting daily on irregularities in their ministries such as not paying contracts and personal benefits for people from the circle around the former governing parties BSP, NMSS and MRF. There is some information in the media about forthcoming lawsuits against some recent ministers among which are Peter Mutafchiev (recent Transport Minister from BSP’s quota) and Asen Gagauzov (recent Regional Development Minister from BSP’s quota). According to the new Transport Minister Aleksander Tsvetkov his forerunner Muyafchiev will be investigated about the leasing deal of two new airplanes for the needs of the government. Rosen Plevneliev, new Regional Development Minister, announced that under the management of former Minister Gagauzov the Ministry concluded contracts damaging the State for over 300 million BGN. It was already announced that there are passing investigations against personnel from the Ministry of Defense for suspicious deals and contracts as well.
At the same time, the National Center for Studying the Public Climate (NCSC) published information according to which the agenda of the new government coincides with the public opinion about the government’s priorities. The society is observing with great interest and approval the first steps of the new government. Big part of the public expectations for the post-election period was connected with wishes for radical personnel changes in the executive power. Currently these expectations are receiving their adequate response. Some analyses of the public opinion indicate that the public expects certain retribution for the wrongdoings of the previous government. However, the logical shift of the public opinion is from euphoria to pragmatism. The retribution, which is expected from the society, must result in actual lawsuits against people responsible for the current state of affairs. Significant lawsuits are also expected from the European Commission. If they do not happen the disappointment in the new government will be very strong and will put the single-party government in an unstable and risky situation.
Analysis and forecast: decreasing risk
The standard tolerance to every new government is a 100-day period. This is the time when its first steps are watched carefully and when the primary conclusions for its future behaviour are made. The first hundred days of Boyko Borisov’s government are going to expire in the autumn. And if in that time there aren’t significant lawsuits for corrupt practices one of the basic resources of the new government will be lost and that’s the public wishing for change and retribution.
Besides that, in this 100-day period the new government must take real action to address the negative economic situation in the country. So far there are only indistinct and populist intentions. If this is not going to happen in the first 100 days of the new government, the public disappointment will be even bigger and it’s possible to grow into dissatisfaction. This period will also coincide with the beginning of the winter, which is characterized with a drop in the positive opinion on the government because of the worsened economic conditions of Bulgarian households. That’s why it’s very important for the government to reach success in prompt crisis-handling measures. This will help PM Boyko Borisov to keep the government stable without the necessity of making a coalition with some of the other right-wing parties in the parliament. Important political events which also depend on the first steps of Borisov’s government are expected in the middle of autumn.
On the 15th of November, only few days after the first 100 days of the new government expire, there will be local by-elections for mayors in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia and some other cities due to the vacated seats in those places. The contest of the vacated seat of Sofia Mayor will be a serious test for all the political forces in the country. While Borisov’s management of Sofia could be described in contradictory terms, these did not substantially harm CEDB’s election results in the past general elections. However the management of the country will surely reflect on the result of the voting on 15th of November. This vote will be the most important signal of and how the public opinion has changed about the CEDB’s government and is of key significance due to the decision to form a government based on parliamentary minority and refuse coalition with the other smaller right-wing parties.