As a divisive argument continues over who should be the next head of Bulgaria’s National Bank, one the candidates, Lyubomir Karimanski, said he had received a life-threatening message.

Bulgarian MP Running for National Bank Post Threatened

A view of the Bulgarian National Bank in Sofia, 25 November 2019. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

A Bulgarian MP running for the post of head of the National Bank has received worrying threats. Lyubomir Karimanski disclosed the threats on Friday during a press conference. 

The SMS he received reads: “Give up, or consequences will start immediately and you have no idea how severe they will be!!!”

Karimanski has alerted the authorities. “Such threats are absolutely unacceptable. I continue to believe in what I do, stand up for my principles and apply no double standards,” he said. 

Asked who might have sent the text message, he responded: “I ain’t no fortune teller.”

Who will govern the important institution has been a point of heated discussion as whoever heads the BNB will likely lead Bulgaria through the adoption of the “single euro currency”, expected in 2024.

The ruling “There’s Such a People” and “We Continue the Change” parties have been at odds on who should run the institution.

The two members of the ruling coalition have proposed two different names for the Parliamentary Budget committee to consider: Karimanski and “We Continue the Change’s” Andrei Gyurov, who has held management positions with the US and Austrian banks.

Since becoming an MP, he is also part of the Committees on Budget and Finance and on Policies for Bulgarians Abroad. Gyurov also has the approval of the other two parties in the coalition, while “There’s Such a People” insists on Karimanski. 

“We have disagreements but we continue together, like every other family”, the Minister of Innovations, “We Continue the Change” member, Daniel Lorer, said on Thursday.

Karimanski, born in 1971, is a graduate of London’s Business School. He is mostly associated with his role as an Adviser on Digital Banking and Innovative Payments to the Banking Association of Luxembourg. He was not politically active before joining “There’s Such a People”, which was created by talk show host Slavi Trifonov and screenwriter Toshko Yordanov amid the 2020 anti-establishment protest wave. 

“There’s Such a People” debuted as the second political force in the April 2021 elections and, following their inconclusive results, came first in the July 2021 repeat elections.

But these elections also ended without a coalition agreement. Increasingly associated with controversial statements, the party slipped to fifth place in elections last November. 

The party then entered a coalition with the winners, also political newcomers, “We Continue the Change”, along with Democratic Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Socialist Party. 

Since the beginning of the coalition’s mandate, however, “There’s Such a Nation” has often acted as an internal opposition, with party leader Trifonov recently criticising PM Kiril Petkov on his softened stances on North Macedonia. 

The new bank governor will replace Dimitar Radev who was in office for seven years.

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