Bulgaria: Trifonov’s ITN invites all except GERB for talks on government

Cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party, which won the largest share of votes in Bulgaria’s July 11 parliamentary elections, is sending invitations on July 22 to all parties except Boiko Borissov’s GERB for talks on the formation of a government.

As the largest parliamentary group, ITN is entitled by the constitution to be the first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government.

ITN’s Stanislav Balabanov told reporters in Parliament: “This is the meaning of democracy and it is logical for these talks to take place here – in the most representative building, the Bulgarian Parliament.

“So I hope our political parties accept our invitations, here in the coming days to hold some practical talks in the name of Bulgaria to have a more stable government and a stable Parliament from now on,” Balabanov said.

While previously ITN had said previously that it would not have dealings with what it calls the parties of the “status quo” – GERB, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms – the latter two have been included among those invited.

Asked why the MRF was among those invited, ITN’s Filip Stanev said that it was “mathematics”, an apparent reference to the requirement for a government to be voted into office by a minimum 121 out of 240 MPs.

“Mathematics, pure mathematics, from the configuration of the parties of the so-called protest, those who are outside the status quo, shows that this is an insufficient number of MPs, there are 121, so in the end in the name of the desire of citizens for stability it is necessary to hold these consultations, because otherwise this cabinet cannot be formed,” Stanev said.

He said that specific names and posts would not be discussed.

Asked whether ITN would accept support from the MRF, Stanev said: “Let’s hold consultations first. Let’s hold consultations first. Let’s see what all our colleagues think. Then this question you ask will be answered”.

ITN plans for the consultations with the other parliamentary groups to take place on July 22, 23 and 24 and be public.

Separately, head of state President Roumen Radev’s office announced that he would hold consultations with all parliamentary groups on July 23, starting with ITN at 9am and continuing until a meeting with the smallest parliamentary group at 4pm.

Radev said at the opening of Parliament on July 21 that he “would not delay” in handing over the first mandate to seek to form a government.

On July 21, ITN’s Toshko Yordanov said that if other parties’ stated desires for change were sincere, a government could be formed within two weeks.

Failure would mean another early parliamentary election, Yordanov said.

(Photo, of Toshko Yordanov, Slavi Trifonov and Filip Stanev, via ITN)

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