Bulgaria’s July elections: Row over government formation continues

With two of Bulgaria’s major established parties having said that they would not vote in favour of the cabinet proposed on Facebook by ITN leader Slavi Trifonov, the question of whether an elected government would be achieved remained open three days after the July 11 early parliamentary elections.

Unofficial estimates of the distribution of seats in the newly-elected Parliament suggest that the “protest parties” – ITN, Democratic Bulgaria and “Rise Up! Mobsters Out!” – together would not have enough MPs to vote a government into office without needing support from at least one of the “status quo” parties – GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

A day after BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said that her party would not support the government proposed by Trifonov, GERB leader Boiko Borissov said that his party would vote against it.

Borissov reiterated his theory that ITN would not form a government, to enable the “one-man dictatorship” of President Roumen Radev to remain in place through the caretaker government he had appointed.

At his July 14 briefing, Borissov lampooned the “protest parties”, at one point holding up a montage of their leaders, as well as his former lieutenant Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in astronaut gear.

Outrage on social networks ensued when it emerged that the photo was based on one of the seven-member crew of the space shuttle Columbia, who died in an accident on re-entry to earth orbit in February 2003. Borissov’s use of the photo was condemned as in bad taste.

Borissov said that if it reached the point that his party was offered a mandate to seek to form a government, it would return it immediately.

He said that he would not take up a seat as an MP in the 46th National Assembly.

Interviewed by bTV on July 14, Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov criticised Trifonov’s unilateral announcement the day before, saying that there was no way for one person to make decisions and make policy with 60 MPs.

“People voted against that,” Ivanov said.

He urged ITN to rethink the proposed composition of the government and to “return to realities and common sense”.

“I hope this is a mistake, not a plan. I will not burn bridges, but I call on those who are entering Parliament to show common sense and return to the priorities of the protest,” Ivanov said, referring to the anti-government protests of last summer and the protests that began months earlier against Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev.

Ivanov said that dialogue should be conducted in Parliament, publicly and by those who had been elected.

He said that there was a chance to put in place a government “of profound change”.

“We cannot allow the country to enter a spiral from election to election,” Ivanov said.

The first MRF reaction to the aftermath of Trifonov’s July 12 announcement came from one of its members of the European Parliament, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, who rejected claims by politicians and analysts that the cabinet proposed by Trifonov was the result of a deal with the MRF.

“The MRF has had neither behind-the-scenes nor public interactions with Slavi Trifonov on politics,” Kyuchyuk told BNR.

Asked whether the MRF would support the government proposed by Trifonov, Kyuchyuk said that the MRF would make a political decision.

Kyuchyuk said that the Italian scenario of frequent parliamentary elections was coming to Bulgaria.

“There is a foreseeable risk of going to new elections, which is not preferable,” he said.

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