Bulgaria’s government has resigned – what happens now, and when?

After Bulgaria’s Parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government on November 16 2016, the big questions arising are how soon a caretaker government will be formed and when early parliament elections will be.

The process will be slightly but significantly different from the two recent occasions when Bulgaria had caretaker governments, in 2013 and 2014. As to elections, current estimates are a date no earlier than March 26 2017.

It is difficult to predict a precise timeframe for the steps to be followed now, because even though those steps are spelt out in the constitution, in practice there is some room for flexibility in the timeframe.

President Rossen Plevneliev will start formal consultations with all parliamentary parties on November 17.

The current National Assembly has eight parliamentary groups, more than the two previous parliaments. The National Assembly elected in 2009 and dissolved in 2013 had five parliamentary groups. The National Assembly elected in 2013 and dissolved in 2014 had four.

The larger number of official groups in the current National Assembly means that Plevneliev has to set aside a longer period of time for consultations, unless he had decided to see everyone in a matter of one or two days.

But on the first day of the post-resignation period, Plevneliev was seeing only parliamentary representatives of Borissov’s GERB party. Later, he was attending a business function and then visiting Malta until the end of November 18. That leaves the weekend, and it is improbable that consultation meetings would be held then.

Once Plevneliev has met all eight parliamentary group leaders, he begins the next stage.

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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)