At a special meeting on May 1, the national council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party approved a recommendation by the executive bureau that the party would immediately return the mandate to be offered to it on Wednesday by President Roumen Radev to seek to form a government.
The decision by the BSP, taken after a meeting lasting more than three hours, to return the mandate on May 5 would formally set Bulgaria on course for new parliamentary elections.
The parties that won, respectively, the largest and second-largest shares in regular parliamentary elections on April 4 – Boiko Borissov’s GERB and Slavi Trifonov’s ITN – already have returned the mandates offered to them.
After Radev announced that he would offer the third mandate to Kornelia Ninova’s BSP, Ninova called an executive bureau meeting to discuss the matter, and convened the May 1 meeting of the national council.
At the opening of the national council meeting, Ninova said that the party had three options.
First was to accept the mandate and present a BSP government to the National Assembly for approval. It was unlikely that the National Assembly would approve such a government, she said.
The second option was to form a “non-partisan expert and programme government”. This too was unlikely to win parliamentary approval, but also might be supported by GERB, and that would be damaging to the BSP.
Ninova said that the third option was to return the mandate and give the public an “honest explanation” why. At this stage, the BSP did not have the support of the voters, and the “other parties of change” in Parliament. This was a reference to Trifonov’s ITN, Hristo Ivanov’s Democratic Bulgaria and the “Rise Up! Mobsters Out!” group.
She said that it was not possible for the BSP to form a government with GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.
After the failure of the third-mandate stage, the constitution obliges the President to dissolve Parliament, appoint a caretaker government and decree a date for elections two months hence from Parliament having been dissolved.
The elections would be held in terms of an amended Electoral Code, the second reading of which was approved at a marathon sitting of the 45th National Assembly on April 29. Radev, as head of state, signed the bill of amendments and it was published in a special State Gazette on May 1.
(Photo of Ninova via the BSP’s Facebook page)
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