Bulgarian head of state President Rossen Plevneliev has postponed the handing over of an exploratory mandate to form a government that had been scheduled for December 12 because it has been declared a day of national mourning for the victims of the gas transport train explosion in the village of Hitrino.
The mandate-handing will now take place on December 13 at 11am, the President’s office said.
This will be the third and final offer of a mandate to try to form a government in the wake of Boiko Borissov’s resignation as Prime Minister.
The first two mandates were offered to Parliament’s largest party, GERB, and the second-largest, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party. Both parties declined to accept a mandate.
Plevneliev will now offer a mandate to the centre-right coalition the Reformist Bloc.
In the past week, the bloc held consultations with a number of other parliamentary groups, including GERB and the nationalist Patriotic Front, on the feasibility of trying to put together a government. The Reformist Bloc’s parliamentary group concluded that when offered a mandate by Plevneliev, it would return it immediately.
The refusal of a mandate by the Reformist Bloc will open the way for the next step spelt out in Bulgaria’s constitution, the appointment of a caretaker government.
Plevneliev’s successor as President, Roumen Radev, will take office on January 22 2017. Radev will dissolve Parliament and decree a date for parliamentary elections, expected to be sometime between late March and mid-April 2017.