Bulgarian President-elect Roumen Radev is refusing to attend a November 29 meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security convened by incumbent President Rossen Plevneliev to discuss the way ahead out of the country’s political situation following the resignation of the Borissov government.
Radev said on Facebook that he would appreciated the gesture by Plevneliev, but did not think that he could attend a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security before his inauguration.
Radev takes office as Bulgaria’s head of state on January 22 2017.
He said that the current situation was a result of the resignation of the Cabinet and the loss of trust among the partners in the ruling coalition. The responsibility for creating a new governing majority or setting a course to early parliamentary elections lay with the parties in the National Assembly, Radev said.
“This responsibility should not be blurred,” Radev said, saying that the confidence conferred on him and his vice-president in the elections could not be used to underwrite “foreign” political deals.
Bulgarian website Mediapool commented that it was not clear what “foreign” political deals Radev was talking about, given his repeated declarations that he is “independent” and will be president of all Bulgarians, not just of the Bulgarian Socialist Party that backed him in the country’s November 2016 presidential elections.
It is expected that at the November 29 meeting, there will be discussion about the possibility of coming up with a new cabinet on the basis of the current Parliament, which Plevneliev has called for – though there appears scant possibility that this could be a viable scenario.
Plevneliev, who in the past two weeks held consultations individually with all eight parliamentary groups, is now required by the constitution to go through the steps of three times offering a mandate to try to form a government.
The first two must be offered to the two successively largest groups in the National Assembly, in this case GERB and the BSP, both of which have said they will refuse. The constitution gives Plevneliev a free hand to choose another parliamentary group to call on.
The Patriotic Front, the National Assembly’s fifth-largest group – which has only 17 out of 240 MPs – has said that it is willing to try, to form a Cabinet similar to the current one, but without Boiko Borissov as Prime Minister. No parliamentary group of significance has supported this idea.
Earlier, Plevneliev indicated that he was willing to consult his successor about the appointment of a caretaker cabinet, to prevent disruption when Radev takes office in January. Radev initially responded positively to this idea, but later distanced himself from it. Some left-wing commentators wrote publicly that if Radev involved himself in a deal on the caretaker cabinet, he would be walking into a trap.
When he takes office, Radev would be entitled by the constitution to dismiss the caretaker cabinet appointed by Plevneliev and appoint his own.