Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party, winner of the most votes in the October 5 elections, intends beginning talks with all parties on possible coalition deals by meeting the Bulgarian Socialist Party on October 13.
Official results in the Bulgarian election are expected on October 9, but the Central Election Commission has released results (see below) following the first round of ballot-processing.
GERB will try to form a minority government in which other parties have cabinet posts without a formal coalition agreement being signed, Bulgarian-language media reports said on October 7.
“I am ready to provide ministerial seats to other parties too, provided that they share with us the responsibility for certain policies,” reports quoted Borissov as saying.
“For example, if the BSP have reasonable views on defence, why not give them the opportunity to propose a minister for the GERB cabinet. Or if Kouneva’s people (a reference to the centre-right Reformist Bloc) are willing to commit to solving the problems in education, I would accept their option on a minister in this area,” he was quoted as saying.
Signalling that he did not want to be strongarmed in the coalition negotiations, Borissov said that there was no rush and “large parties make small compromises, small ones make large ones”.
The proposal to begin talks starting with the BSP, which ran second in the elections, on October 13 was accepted an October 7 GERB executive committee meeting.
A GERB negotiating team, headed by senior member and former Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva, with Menda Stoyanova and Roumyana Buchvarova, would meet all parties that won seats in the 43rd National Assembly, GERB’s executive committee decided.
The idea is that the talks would be held over seven consecutive days with parties in sequence according to the results of the election. The talks will be held at the National Assembly building in Sofia and will be minuted.
The plan is that after each meeting, the representatives of the two parties – GERB and which ever party it is meeting that day – would make statements jointly to the media.
After this round of negotiations, GERB will hold a second round of negotiations. These will involve GERB executive committee members under the leadership of Borissov.
On October 7, the Bulgarian Socialist Party leadership was meeting to discuss talks with GERB.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, senior BSP member Angel Naidenov said that it was “not so important whether we are offered one or another ministry, but what the objectives are”.
“If the concepts are similar, we can talk, and second, that we clearly enough have outlined the conditions under which we can accept participation”.
At an election night news conference on October 5, BSP leader Mihail Mikov said that the party was going into opposition.
The Reformist Bloc has called for a stable and consensual political figure as prime minister.
In an October 7 television interview, the Reformist Bloc’s Petar Moskov said the bloc would support the majority in parliament and a clear written coalition agreement.
Moskov said that a transitional programme government was needed, but it would not be able to be based solely on right-wing ideological grounds.
He said that it was possible that a majority could be made up from three political forces. Moskov said that it was possible that a majority in parliament might not be achieved, but the Reformist Bloc would not be the reason for early elections.
Head of state President Rossen Plevneliev said that holding election after election was not a solution.
“We cannot tell the Bulgarian people, ‘you did not vote the correct way, come back for a rewrite of the exam,” Plevneliev said on October 7, commenting on the election results and the apparent difficulty in forming a coalition.
He said that people had gone out to vote on Sunday, and now politicians were expected to clearly hear their messages, to find the mechanisms, to be sufficiently courageous and wise, to heed the nation and respond to its expectations, and would have to work hard.
Humility, clear commitment and hard work were essential, Plevneliev said.
Asked when he would convene the National Assembly, Plevneliev said that as head of state, he would keep to the constitutional deadlines. (The constitution says that the head of state convenes the National Assembly within a month of its election).
“The head of state is not a daily commentator and under no circumstances a political commentator. The head of state is a pillar of the rules of the highest law of all, the constitution and compliance with it,” Plevneliev said, adding that he would keep to his constitutional commitments, as he had done last year.
The Central Election Commission said on October 6, after 100 per cent of the ballots cast in the elections were processed, that the results were: GERB 32.66 per cent, BSP 15.41 per cent, Movement for Rights and Freedoms 14.83 per cent, Reformist Bloc 8.88 per cent, Patriotic Front 7.28 per cent, Bulgaria Without Censorship 5.77 per cent, Ataka 4.52 per cent, ABC 4.15 per cent.
(Photo of Borissov: gerb.bg)