Apart from the logistical improbability of Bulgaria holding ahead-of-term national parliamentary elections in July, Bulgarian Socialist Party chiefs did not endorse Sergei Stanishev’s call for this date or for the resignation of the cabinet this week.
After a meeting of about eight hours on June 10, it emerged that instead, Stanishev had been mandated to negotiate with other political leaders and with President Rossen Plevneliev the “earliest possible” date for elections, now seen as perhaps to be held around September.
Stanishev’s proposal, given in a speech at the start of the June 10 meeting, was for the cabinet to resign immediately after the conclusion of the vote of no confidence in the cabinet in the National Assembly this week.
Plevneliev is to hold a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security on June 17 to discuss an election date. It may turn out that the cabinet’s resignation will be filed only after there is clarity on the election date, which would make it unlikely that the resignation would happen by the end of June 13.
Stanishev – who according to official accounts of the BSP meeting did not face any calls for his resignation as party leader – would have had an obvious if unstated advantage should his appeal for July elections have succeeded. This would leave no time for a party congress at which his position as leader could be challenged; further, it follows that he would still be in place to vet and rearrange party electoral candidate lists to his own advantage.
It also appears that the party was not prepared to get on board with Stanishev’s pushing of blame on to the government that was put in place with the mandate of the BSP in May 2013. Official accounts of the meeting say that Plamen Oresharski, placed in the prime minister’s chair in the BSP cabinet last year, was given sustained applause at the BSP meeting.
Reportedly, in an address to the BSP meeting, Oresharski said that some of the appointments into the administration, pushed there from the ranks of the BSP and its ruling axis partner the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, had proved to be underperformers, worse than the people from the GERB administration that they had replaced.
At the meeting, Stanishev was given a mandate to make changes to the executive office and campaign headquarters. He has two weeks to do so.
All of these developments suggest that elections could be in late September, meaning that the cabinet would remain in place until some time in July.
In his address to the BSP national council meeting, Stanishev refused to resign as leader of the party. Calls for his resignation were not aimed at a solution but at blame-shifting, he said, adding, “I am not going to let anyone use me as a doormat”.