Plamen Oresharski formally resigned as prime minister on July 23, after weeks of speculation and – in certain quarters – anxiety about whether he would play his part in carrying out the agreement reached by political parties to hold early parliamentary elections.
Under Bulgarian law, the next procedural steps are as follows:
July 24-25 – Bulgarian Parliament sits to vote the resignation motion. Opposition party GERB, which has stymied parliamentary proceedings in recent weeks by failing to register and thus ensuring that the National Assembly did not have the required quorum to sit, has said that it would return to the House floor to vote the on the motion.
Should the motion pass – as it is expected to, given the indications from parliamentary-represented parties over the past month – the current cabinet will remain in office on an interim basis, pending the appointment of a new government.
To that end, President Rossen Plevneliev is required to give the mandate to form the government to the largest party in Parliament, which in the current 240-seat legislature is GERB with 93 MPs.
If the party is unable to get a simple majority to invest a new cabinet, or chooses not to put forth a government and return the mandate, Plevneliev must then give the same mandate to the second-largest party – the socialists, with 83 MPs.
Should the Bulgarian Socialist Party be unable, or unwilling to form the government, the President can then choose another party – in the current legislature that is either the Movement for Rights and Freedoms with 36 MPs or ultra-nationalist Ataka with 23 MPs – to receive the third, and final, mandate to form a cabinet.
Ataka is boycotting the National Assembly and the other three parties have agreed that no new government is possible in the current hung Parliament, vowing to return Plevneliev’s mandate shortly after receiving it. (In theory, the entire process can be concluded in one day.)
Once the three attempts to designate a new cabinet fail, the early elections procedure is formally initiated. The timeline for the elections was agreed by political parties during talks hosted by Plevneliev on June 27.
August 5 – Plevneliev announces the line-up of the caretaker Cabinet, which will have reduced powers and whose main task will be to prepare and hold the snap elections. This will be the second caretaker government appointed by Plevneliev, who was elected on the GERB ticket in 2011 – in March 2013, he appointed ambassador Marin Raykov as caretaker prime minister.
August 6 – the 42nd National Assembly is officially prorogued by presidential decree.
October 5 – Bulgaria holds early parliamentary elections.
(Should political parties in Parliament stick to the terms agreed on June 27, President Rossen Plevneliev, pictured at the front, will once again take centre stage, appointing a second caretaker government in less than a year and a half. Photo: president.bg)