Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said on December 21 that he would not appoint a caretaker cabinet, after attempts to come up with an elected government failed, but would leave this to his successor as head of state, Roumen Radev.
In an address to the nation broadcast live, Plevneliev said that if at any moment, Radev came to him with the names for a caretaker cabinet, he would appoint it.
Plevneliev noted that Radev had said that he had a caretaker cabinet ready.
Plevneliev’s address came a few hours after the Reformist Bloc returned to him the third and final exploratory mandate to try to form a government.
He said that it was not as if he could not appoint a caretaker government – “I have experience”, said Plevneliev, who twice before in his term of office has had to name a caretaker administration – but was keen to avoid a situation in which Bulgaria could end up with three or four governments over a five-month period.
Bulgaria’s constitution specifies that Plevneliev may not dissolve the National Assembly or decree an election date because he is his final three months in office.
Plevneliev indicated that he did not want Bulgaria’s image damaged through the spectacle of changing governments.
He said that there was no point in appointing a caretaker cabinet that would be in office only until January 22, when the next President takes office, and that thus would not oversee preparations for elections.
By the conventions of the Bulgarian constitution, the main job of a caretaker cabinet is to arrange early parliamentary elections.
Plevneliev’s December 21 announcement effectively leaves in place the government headed by Boiko Borissov, elected in November 2014.
Borissov announced his resignation after the second round of Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections, in which his party’s candidate was defeated by opposition socialist-backed Radev. The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly on November 2016 to accept the resignation of Borissov’s government.
Borissov’s GERB party turned down Plevneliev’s offer of a mandate to form a new government, as did Parliament’s next-largest group, the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Over the past week, the Reformist Bloc bid to come up with a new elected government, among itself, GERB and Parliament’s nationalist groups, but no compromise on key policy issues could be reached.
(Archive photo: Bulgarian president-elect Radev and Plevneliev at a November 2016 meeting)