Bulgaria’s political situation: Part of Reformist Bloc trying mission impossible

Written by on December 16, 2016 in Bulgaria - No comments

Three days after President Rosen Plevneliev offered a mandate to form a government to the Reformist Bloc, it does not look like the efforts to do so will lead to any success. Within that center-right bloc, consisting of several parties, only the Union of Democratic Forces seems to be believing in the task.

As demanded by the constitution, Plevneliev had given mandates to the two largest parliamentary groups first, the ones by Prime Minister Boyko Borossov’s GERB and by the Socialists. Both had declined and returned the mandate.

Now there seem to be two issues, which will most likely foil the latest attempts and lead to the appointment of a caretaker government and new parliamentary elections in the spring of 2017:

  • The cracks in the Reformist Bloc are becoming obvious. Meglena Kouneva (photo), a former member of the European Commission, and her party Bulgaria for Citizens Movement say, they will oppose any attempt of forming a government, unless their anti-corruption bill gets adopted by the parliament’s legal committee. They had tried to get it passed since the summer and are now tying it to these rather desperate, but almost chanceless attempts.
  • The Reformist Bloc would need the largest parliamentary group, GERB, to follow suit and basically make it happen. The head of GERB’s group, former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said he believed the chances for a success regarding the formation of a government were about 20%.

 

The most likely scenario is the following: The incoming President Rumen Radev will dissolve the parliament in January, appoint a caretaker government and set an election date in spring. His predecessor, Rosen Plevneliev, might appoint a caretaker government even before, but he does not have the constitutional power to dissolve the parliament, since he is in the last months of his term.

The polticial crisis Bulgaria is in came about when Prime Minister Boyko Borissov resigned after a huge defeat at the presidential elections. Critics say, he did not have a good reason to resign and should therefore not have triggered this latest crisis.

Observers fear that radical, xenophobic parties and groups, such as the Patriotic Front, might become a lot stronger in the expected elections, because their rhetoric of hate in the ongoing refugee crisis was not countered by anyone, including the government.

By Imanuel Marcus

In cooperation with The Sofia Globe.

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