GERB, Boiko Borissov’s party that got the largest share of votes in Bulgaria’s May 12 parliamentary elections but will be left unable to form a government in the face of opposition from the other three parties elected, is to approach the Constitutional Court to overturn the elections on the grounds of violations of electoral law on the eve-of-elections “day of contemplation”.
Borissov announced this on May 16, saying that the approach to the Constitutional Court would be made the same day or on May 17.
Law regarding the “day of contemplation” is that there should be no campaign activity. But when news broke of a raid by prosecutors and agents of the State Agency for National Security on a printing house allegedly involved in printing illegal ballots, there was extensive news coverage – much of it alleging a link between the printing operation and Borissov’s party – as well as widespread political reaction.
Borissov told the news conference that there had been “widespread violations” of the law on the day of contemplation. Leaders of political parties had made statements, and with their ballot numbers clearly visible, he said.
He said that should the Constitutional Court not agree to GERB’s application to overturn the elections, his party would exercise its legal right, as the party with the most votes, to accept the first offer of a mandate to attempt to get a cabinet approved by Parliament.
Borissov spoke in favour of early elections, including noting the fact that a number of parties had come close to the threshold for entry to Parliament. When a journalist put to him that President Rossen Plevneliev – head of state, elected in 2011 on a GERB ticket – had the previous day spoken out against repeat elections because this would mean profound instability, Borissov said that the Presidency was an independent institution and he would not comment.
The same day, speaking in Gabrovo, Plevneliev said that he did not agree with those who said that there was a deadlock after the election and said that the responsible approach would be to form a government as soon as possible.
The former prime minister, whose party won the regular parliamentary elections in 2009 and ruled the party with a minority government before leaving office in March 2013 following nationwide cost-of-living protests, underlined that his party had won the most seats: “whichever way I look at it, 97 is more than 84,” a reference to the respective shares of seats to be held by GERB and the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Borissov underlined that in all major cities and regional centres, GERB had won, including in places that had been strongholds of protest.
He poured scorn on the plans of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to form a “programme government” with the support of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and ultra-nationalists Ataka, pointing to crucial policy differences among the three parties on issues such as the future or otherwise of the Belene nuclear power station project, flat tax, incomes and the minimum wage.
Nothing could be worse than the current situation, unless an unprincipled coalition was formed, according to Borissov.
Borissov and Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who flanked him at the news conference, denied any connection with the printing house. Borissov said that if fresh elections were held, he would ban anyone connected to GERB from bidding in public procurement tenders related to the elections.