Bulgaria head of state President Roumen Radev will begin on April 24 a succession of meetings with the five parliamentary groups ahead of handing a mandate to the largest, Boiko Borissov’s GERB, to seek to form a government.
Radev will meet the parliamentary groups in reverse order of size, starting with the smallest – Vesselin Mareshki’s 12-MP Volya party – and culminating in meeting GERB, which has 95 MPs in the 240-seat National Assembly.
The meetings will take place over two days, with talks with three parliamentary groups on Monday and with the Bulgarian Socialist Party and with GERB on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Radev said that he would hand over the mandate to form a government next week, though at the time he did not specify on what date. On April 21, he said that after his meeting with GERB, he would announce the date for handing over the mandate.
Bulgaria’s constitution rules that after a parliamentary election, the head of state offers to the largest parliamentary group a mandate to seek to form a government, after which it has a seven-day deadline to do so. If this attempt fails, a mandate is offered to the next-largest group – in the case of the 44th National Assembly, the BSP – and if that attempts fails, the President has a free hand to offer a mandate to any other group of his choice.
GERB has been in talks for several days with the nationalist United Patriots, the third-largest group in Parliament which has 27 MPs. Added to GERB’s MPs, it creates just enough parliamentary support to vote a government into power. Participants in the GERB-United Patriots negotiations have indicated that a government could be presented to the vote in Parliament on May 4.
The BSP has said that if GERB’s attempt to form a government fails, it is willing to make an attempt to come up with a coalition cabinet.