Following their ultimatum to the Bulgarian government in May and talks with coalition cabinet majority partner GERB, nationalist minority coalition the Patriotic Front said on July 3 that it would continue supporting the cabinet.
Bulgaria’s coalition goverment took office in November 2014, with GERB, centre-right coalition the Reformist Bloc and socialist breakaway ABC taking part in the cabinet and the Patriotic Front supporting the government in Parliament without holding cabinet seats.
In May, drama around tensions between ethnic Bulgarians and Roma in the municipality of Garmen prompted the Patriotic Front – of which the two main components are Valeri Simeonov’s National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria and Krassimir Karakachanov’s VMRO – to deliver an ultimatum to the government on a number of issues.
Speaking to reporters on July 3, Simeonov said that “after a thorough analysis” and a series of meetings, the Patriotic Front had decided that it was satisfied with the government’s actions regarding Garmen, with the terms for the further construction and repair of the fence at the border with Turkey, as well as actions against illegal logging.
Simeonov said that the Patriotic Front agreed with GERB and the Reformist Bloc about active registration after the October 25 national referendum if the idea of mandatory voting was rejected, and on increasing the penalties for buying and selling of votes.
He said that there was an agreement with GERB and the Reformist Bloc on support for amendments to legislation on Bulgarians abroad.
Simeonov said that initially the Patriotic Front had been dissatisfied about the government’s performance against everyday crime, but now a number of steps had been taken, and the day before, a report had been presented showing that 300 additional police had been deployed to critical area and by the end of July, this figure would reach 600.
There was progress on the issue of additional video surveillance, he said, but added that on this issue, there was still much more work to be done.
The Patriotic Front’s parliamentary group had decided to continue the supporting the programme of a stable government, and over the coming three months, would “exert strict control” regarding the unsolved issues of everyday crime and the electricity price increase, Simeonov said.