Bulgaria’s centre-right GERB party leader Boiko Borissov, expected within weeks to again become prime minister, held talks with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms on April 12 as part of efforts to secure “maximum support” in Parliament during Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU in the first half of 2018.
Borissov, whose party won the most votes in the March 26 parliamentary elections, also has held talks with the second-ranked Bulgarian Socialist Party and with the new National Assembly’s smallest party, Vesselin Mareshki’s Volya.
GERB is in negotiations with the third-largest group in Parliament, the nationalist United Patriots, on the formation of a coalition government.
Speaking after the talks with an MRF delegation headed by party leader Mustafa Karadaya, Borissov said that especially at a time that Bulgaria would be holding the rotating EU presidency and with the need to stabilise the country, it was necessary to seek maximum support in Parliament on specific topics.
Borissov told reporters that the talks with the MRF delegation had covered issues including Brexit, the EU presidency, financial and tax policies.
According to Borissov, “we came to the conclusion that if the presidency is accepted as a main topic in the next year and the policy is made within Parliament, that will greatly facilitate the cabinet and will allow all parties represented in Parliament to participate, and in this way draw positives for Bulgaria”.
He said that he believed that in respect, a certain understanding had been achieved with all parties on certain topics.
Borissov said that the polices of GERB and the MRF overlapped in many respects and they would would work well as government and opposition in the new Parliament.
Karadaya told reporters after the meeting that the MRF wanted a “programme government” to take charge of the country until the EU presidency was completed.
He said that the MRF had expressed its “clear and firm” position that it ws unacceptable to be tolerating extreme radical nationalism in Bulgaria, “including through their participation in power” – a reference to the United Patriots.
Head of state President Roumen Radev has decreed that Bulgaria’s 44th National Assembly will hold its first sitting on April 19. Participants in the GERB-United Patriots coalition government negotiations have expressed optimism that on April 13, a joint governance programme would be ready, and after Easter and by early May, a coalition cabinet could be in place.