Sixty-eight per cent of Bulgarians want a caretaker government appointed and early parliamentary elections called, according to a poll by the Alpha Research agency, carried out for public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
Only 30 per cent of Bulgarians felt the need for the formation of a government on the basis of the current National Assembly, according to the results of the Alpha Research poll, released on the evening of November 29 in BNT’s weekly Referendum political talk show.
An overwhelming 78 per cent felt that the composition of a caretaker government should be negotiated between incumbent President Rossen Plevneliev and his successor, Roumen Radev, the opposition socialist-backed president-elect who will take office as head of state on January 22 2017.
Radev has refused to do this.
The results of the Alpha Research poll came 13 days after the National Assembly voted by a very large majority to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
Borissov announced his resignation on November 13, after his party’s presidential candidate suffered a landslide defeat in a second round of presidential elections against Radev.
On November 29, President Plevneliev convened a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security, a statutory body that brings together parliamentary group leaders, key Cabinet ministers and security and intelligence chiefs, to discuss a way out of the political situation.
Plevenliev, who in his single term as President already twice has had to appoint caretaker cabinets, has been trying to avert doing so for a third time.
There appeared a possibility that the nationalist Patriotic Front group, the fifth-largest in Parliament although its political clout may exceed that figure, would try to assemble a government and stave off parliamentary elections in spring 2017.
The poll found that just more than 50 per cent of those polled thought it better to form a government in the context of the current Parliament if that mandate was handed to a third political force.
Constitutionally, with the government having resigned, Plevneliev first must hand an exploratory mandate to the largest group in Parliament, Borissov’s GERB party. Borissov has repeated on an almost daily basis that his party will refuse it.
Next the exploratory mandate goes to the next-largest party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party. The BSP has said that it will refuse, that it will remain an opposition party in this National Assembly, and that it wants early parliamentary elections.
The nationalist Patriotic Front, however, has said that it wants to have a go. It seeks a new government, without Borissov as prime minister. PF co-leader Valeri Simeonov, in a television interview on November 29, floated the possibility of keeping some GERB and other current ruling majority cabinet ministers – Vladislav Goranov (finance), Liliya Pavlova (regional development) and Petar Moskov (health) in their jobs in a newly-constituted government.
Meanwhile, on another hot-button issue in Bulgarian politics, the Alpha Research poll found that 80 per cent of those polled said that dealing with migrants would be most effective if they were returned to the countries from which they came.
Former air force general Radev, in his campaign in the presidential elections, advocated a hard – practically militaristic – line against illegal migration. The Patriotic Front, which had a joint electoral ticket with its former foes of Volen Siderov’s far-right ultra-nationalist Ataka, also banged hard on the illegal migration issue, getting its candidate a third place at the first round, in a field of 21 candidates.
Bulgaria’s constitution accords no executive role in the running of the country to the President. This is done by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)