Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev, speaking after collective consultations with leaders of most of the parties in Parliament, said that it was possible that early elections prompted by the resignation of Boiko Borissov’s government would be between mid-April and mid-May. He said that the situation was moving towards a caretaker government rather than one of the major parties forming a government for the remainder of the current term.
Plevneliev underlined that in his talks with the leaders of the parties, each had given a serious commitment to maintaining Bulgaria’s financial and institutional stability.
The talks, with the parliamentary leaders of Borissov’s party GERB, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the Blue Coalition, lasted for just more than three hours.
Plevneliev pledged that all constitutional procedures would be followed. He again confirmed that on February 25 he would hand a mandate to GERB to form a new government but was aware that Borissov’s party intended returning it immediately.
Ahead of the meeting, the BSP and MRF both said that they did not want to be in a caretaker government and wanted elections held as soon as possible.
Plevneliev said that there were tasks that had to be completed as a matter of urgency. He named these as including a new energy law, enabling appropriate prices in the light of the recent protests, a law on energy efficiency and – referring to another recent controversy in Bulgaria – a law on a moratorium on construction on dunes along the Black Sea coast.
He emphasised the need for the elections to be transparent and democratic and said that the OSCE and other European institutions would be invited to send observers. Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission, the Interior Ministry and others had serious tasks in relation to the elections, notably that they be conducted fairly.
Plevneliev said that the priorities of the interim government (which he repeatedly was careful to say, “should it come to that”) would be the conducting of fair and transparent elections, dealing with the crisis in all aspects, guaranteeing financial stability, working on the revenue side of the budget and continuing the use of EU funds.
He said that a caretaker cabinet should be professional, expert, to ensure that it would work for stability and confidence.
People wanted change and their voices should be heeded, Plevneliev said. Bulgaria’s political parties should adapt to the new reality, he said.
The parties had pledged themselves to stability and not instability and to ensuring that the election was held in a calm atmosphere, according to Plevneliev.
He said that if the protesters could come forward with decisions on how to improve the country, he was prepared to work with them.
Plevneliev said that for now there were no clear nominations about the acting prime minister in a caretaker government nor its other members. The priorities had to be established first “and after that the people who are able to work to fulfil them”.
He said that the country was not a car for protesters to push downhill and watch the fun. “We are all in this car and if something goes wrong, we have to stop, open the bonnet and fix it”.