Bulgaria’s political crisis: Kouneva says her party will not take part in a government in this Parliament

Meglena Kouneva of the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement, part of the Reformist Bloc, says that her party will not take part in any attempt to form a new government within the current National Assembly.

She said that her party would not serve as part of an elected government in the context of the current Parliament, and nor would any of its political figures serve in a caretaker government.

Kouneva was speaking as the party’s executive board met in Sofia on November 20, a week after the presidential election defeat of Boiko Borissov’s GERB party that led to the resignation of Borissov’s coalition government, which included the Reformist Bloc as a minority partner.

Borissov has said that he will not seek to form a new government. The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party has said the same, setting Bulgaria firmly on the path to early parliamentary elections, probably some time in spring 2017.

Kouneva said that the Reformist Bloc would propose to the committee of Parliament’s presiding officers to reduce MPs’ Christmas recess, to enable second-reading approval of important bills: Budget 2017, the anti-corruption law and the anti-terrorism law.

Referring to issues arising from the November 6 national referendum – which drew voter turnout below the threshold required to make the results binding on Parliament – Kouneva said that the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement opposed the idea of introducing a system of electing MPs purely on a majoritarian basis. She dismissed the idea as populist.

Kouneva’s party did not preclude the convening of a Grand National Assembly, a new constitution, a reduction of the number of MPs and a new formula for subsidising political parties.

On the issue of state subsidies – in the referendum, there was large support for cutting the amount to one lev per vote in the most recent parliamentary elections – Kouneva said that there should be sliding scale.

As to halving the number of MPs to 120 (a question not put in the referendum because deciding such issues is the prerogative of a Grand National Assembly), she said that this could be discussed, but only after a mandatory census.

It was absolutely irresponsible to think that there could be radical changes to the electoral system by the spring, Kouneva said. There was not enough time for a broad discussion and finding the right formula for reforming the electoral system, she said.

It is expected that the Reformist Bloc will hold a congress by mid-January 2017.

Meanwhile, the week beginning November 21 will see President Rossen Plevneliev, having held consultations with GERB and the BSP, continue the process of political consultations by meeting the remaining six parliamentary groups.

Plevneliev has called for attempts to form a new government in the current Parliament, saying that all recent opinion polls showed that Bulgarians did not want early parliamentary elections. However, given the lack of interest among major parties in trying to form a government, it appears that Bulgaria is set for some months of a caretaker government and then early elections.




The Sofia Globe staff

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