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New ministers appointed by PM Borisov

BulgariaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, July 29, 2009 00:16:57

No prime minister can expect to accomplish anything without a well-rounded cabinet, and Borisov is no different. Most of his ministers, which were quickly approved by parliament, are new on the political scene, which many see as part of Borisov's plan to prove his party is different from the traditional political establishment.

Many experts have said that in light of the economic crisis, which has hit Bulgaria especially hard, the new Finance Minister Simeon Djankov is going to play a vital role in the new government.

Daniel Smilov, program director of political and legal research at the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, told Deutsche Welle that the appointment of Djankov, who has joined Borisov's government after leaving a 13 year position at the World Bank, is very significant.

"Borisov wants to say that his economic policy is going to be stability and continuity of previous reforms and also increasing the deficit of the Bulgarian economy," he added.

Smilov also pointed out that Borisov's closest ally, former police chief Tsvetan Tsvetanov, will head the interior ministery, making him responsible for cracking down on organized crime and fighting corruption among police.

The new minister of justice, Margarita Popova, has worked as a prosecutor since 1990, heading the Sofia Prosecutor's Office between 1996 and 2004 before being appointed spokeswoman to the Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev in 2006.

Since October of last year, Popova has been running a specialized unit for fighting fraud involving EU funds and had won praise both at home in Bulgaria and from Brussels.

Of course, having a good team is only half the battle, according to Smilov, who says the real question is whether or not Borisov has a coherent strategy to implement.

"Now what is needed is real political commitment and will to change existing practices. Borisov has public support and he has a team of experts…so the conditions are there for some progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime."(Deutsche Welle, 28 July)

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