Question mark over future of GERB-Reformist Bloc talks as Borissov’s party heads for meeting with Patriotic Front

The failed first round of talks between GERB and the other centre-right, if much smaller, force in the new Bulgarian Parliament, the Reformist Bloc, has left unclear the ultimate makeup of a possible coalition government.

More than six hours of talks between negotiating teams from GERB, winner of the largest share of seats in the October parliamentary elections, and the Reformist Bloc ended only with expressions of frustration and conflicting views on whether talks between the two would continue.

Remarks by GERB negotiator Roumyana Buchvarova were interpreted as meaning that there would not be a second round of GERB-Reformist Bloc talks.

GERB chief negotiator Tsetska Tsacheva said that the team had emerged from talks not knowing how reliable a partner the Reformist Bloc would be.

Tsacheva also expressed frustration at dealing with the Reformist Bloc because of its complex nature and the fact that the bloc’s negotiating team were representing the multi-party group as a whole but also as individual parties.

GERB also took offence at the Reformist Bloc making public, ahead of the October 15 meeting, a platform of policy demands that it required Borissov’s party to sign up to before there could be any progress in possible coalition talks.

After the October 5 ahead-of-term elections, there has been widespread speculation that the ultimate coalition – under difficult circumstances – would be GERB-Reformist Bloc-Patriotic Front, the last-mentioned a coalition of two nationalist formations.

This is not necessarily a politically comfortable fit. The Patriotic Front in several policy areas is hardly different from Ataka, the party headed by Volen Siderov from which Patriotic Front co-leader Valeri Simeonov has been become estranged.

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