Bulgaria: Trifonov says will not seek to get government approved

Cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov has broken his three-week silence since his ITN political party won second place in Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary elections to say that he would nominate one of his MPs, chess champion Antoaneta Stefanova, as Prime Minister, but said that she would turn down a mandate to get a government approved by Parliament.

An April 26 post on Trifonov’s Facebook page said that his party did not have the necessary number of MPs or partners to form a government.

“The support offered is from political actors who are noxious, greedy and proven to be compromised,” the post said.

Their offer of support meant not support but dependence, he said.

“So Antoaneta Stefanova will accept the mandate with respect and will return it immediately. The law, the constitution and democracy give us the opportunity to make better choices.”

In Bulgaria’s parliamentary elections, outgoing Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party won the largest share of votes, entitling it, in line with the constitution, the first chance to seek to form a government.

Facing opposition from all other groups in the 45th National Assembly, on April 23 GERB returned the mandate to President Roumen Radev.

Radev has not yet announced when he intends offering the mandate to Trifonov’s party, which has 51 seats in Bulgaria’s 240-seat Parliament.

Other groups, including GERB, have offered to supply the votes to ensure a government nominated by Trifonov is voted into office.

Information posted on Parliament’s website about Stefanova, 42, and who was elected from an electoral district in Plovdiv, describes her as a chess player, teacher and economist, who – apart from Bulgarian – speaks English, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.

If Trifonov holds to his April 26 statement, Radev will offer a third mandate to seek to form a government. The constitution sets no deadline for Radev to do so, and gives him a free hand to offer it to the parliamentary group of his choice.

Should a third attempt fail, the constitution requires the President to dissolve Parliament, appoint a caretaker government and decree a date for a parliamentary election two months hence.

(Screenshot from Trifonov’s Facebook page)

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Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.