Bulgaria: Borissov’s GERB gives up attempt to form government

Three days after receiving a mandate to attempt to get a government approved, outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition – winner of the largest share of votes in the April 4 parliamentary elections – handed it back to President Roumen Radev.

The mandate was handed back by the coalition’s prime minister-designate Daniel Mitov and GERB parliamentary leader Dessislava Atanassova. Borissov did not attend the ceremony.

Mitov told Radev that the coalition had wanted honest and open talks with other groups, had made an effort and come up with a “team of specialists”, but their efforts had not been appreciated and the other parties had shown political immaturity.

Earlier, of the other five parliamentary groups, GERB-UDF had approached two for talks: Slavi Trifonov’s ITN and Hristo Ivanov’s Democratic Bulgaria. Both refused to meet them.

Borissov said that he could not talk to inexperienced, hate-driven people. He predicted fresh elections.

Radev said that he would announce “in coming days” when he would hand over the second mandate.

In line with Bulgaria’s constitution, that must go to the second-largest parliamentary group, Trifonov’s ITN.

“I hope that the time provided will be invested in a dialogue between the political forces,” Radev said.

“Bulgaria needs a stable government, because only a legitimate government can bring the country out of the crisis,” he said.

ITN parliamentary group leader Toshko Yordanov reiterated to reporters that the party would announce whether it would attempt to form a government only after receiving a mandate from Radev.

“When the mandate comes to us, then you will know what we will do. We will do what we have to do the moment we are given the mandate,” Yordanov said.

Ivanov said that informal talks were taking place, adding that the talks were neither structured nor purposeful.

He said that whether Democratic Bulgaria sought the third mandate from Radev would depend on how ITN handled the second. The constitution gives the President a free hand in choosing to which parliamentary group to offer the third mandate.

Nikolai Hadzhigenov of the “Rise Up! Mobsters Out!” coalition, the current Parliament’s smallest group, said: “In our opinion, we owe it to the voters to at least try to form a cabinet. Obviously, we can’t form a cabinet because we are the smallest. Everyone else is worried. So we think that in politics one has to be willing to take risks”.

(Screenshot from a video posted on Facebook by GERB)

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