Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev was scheduled to hold a meeting with leaders of all parliamentary groups at 2pm on February 22 for political consultations on the way ahead after the resignation of Boiko Borissov’s government.
Plevneliev said on February 21 that he had decided to meet the political leaders simultaneously.
“All of us together, not separately, so that there cannot be the slightest suspicion that secret coalitions are being agreed in the President’s office,” Plevneliev said. He said that he would discuss with party leaders what needed to be done urgently in the state and in Parliament before it is dissolved – as would happen if no party forms a government and a caretaker administration is appointed.
However, Volen Siderov, leader of the minority ultra-nationalist Ataka party, said that he would not participate in the consultations in the format that had been announced, and said that the media and representatives of the protesters should be presented. Siderov said that Plevneliev was a “marionette” of Borissov’s party and would not come up with solutions that met public needs.
Bulgarian media underlined that in his remarks after Parliament accepted the resignation of Borissov’s government, Plevneliev effectively criticised Borissov by saying that he had been surprised by the resignation and it was the responsibility of the government to serve out its term.
On the night of February 21, the protests that prompted Borissov to announce his government’s resignation to seek a fresh mandate had dwindled in significance. Protesters, many of them youths, offered diverse answers when asked by journalists why they were still protesting when the demand for the government to go had been met, offered diverse answers.
“We want a complete change,” a young woman enthused, but appeared hard-pressed to explain what it was this meant.
Pending changes complete or otherwise, Borissov’s cabinet continues in an acting capacity.
In Parliament, eight ministers were scheduled to appear in Parliament at Question Time on the morning of February 22. Official notice was given that some who had been scheduled to answer questions would be absent, due to prior official commitments.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov, whose forced resignation was part of the drama of the week, and who sought in vain to withdraw it after Borissov announced that the whole Cabinet was going, would not be in the House for “personal reasons”, a statement by Parliament said.
However, the planned Question Time fell away when the House failed to secure a quorum. MPs, who began their meeting at 9am, voted on some crucial appointments but when it came to Question Time, too few were present and Parliament was adjourned until February 27.
On February 25, Plevneliev will offer Borissov’s party GERB a mandate to seek to form a government. GERB already has said that it will refuse the mandate and will not serve in a caretaker government. Should, as expected, nothing come of the ritual of offering the mandate and it being refused, Plevneliev will offer the mandate to the next largest parties, in turn.
The largest opposition party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, also has said that it will not serve in a caretaker administration.
Politicians and commentators busied themselves with speculation on when the ahead-of-term elections should and could be held. Dates proposed included April 21, April 28 and May 12, while one commentator said that depending on how smoothly or otherwise procedures were completed, the “ahead-of-term” election might finish up being held later than July 5, the original scheduled date.