Deadline looms for first bid to get a new Bulgarian government elected

On the eve of the August 6 deadline for Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party to formally inform President Roumen Radev of its proposed Cabinet, it remained unclear whether that proposal would have sufficient support in Parliament.

ITN won the largest share of seats in the National Assembly in Bulgaria’s July 11 early parliamentary elections, entitling it to be first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party’s national council, meeting on August 4, could not agree whether or to vote in favour of the proposed ITN government, but gave the go-ahead for continued talks with Trifonov’s party.

Talks between ITN and the BSP are expected to continue on August 6.

Democratic Bulgaria coalition co-leader Hristo Ivanov has said that each of the constituent parties in the coalition would make a decision, and the coalition’s stance would be made known before the sitting of Parliament to vote on the proposed government.

Pending ITN’s meeting with Radev, no date for that sitting has been announced, but it is widely expected to be August 11.

Maya Manolova of the “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming” coalition said that the parliamentary group would announce its stance by the end of the parliamentary procedure regarding the election of a government.

ITN MP Stanislav Balabanov reiterated on August 5 that the party was refusing to sign agreements with other parliamentary groups from which they are seeking support.

This has been a major sticking point in talks, because the three groups have indicated that signed agreements are a key condition for voting in favour of an ITN government.

Balabanov said that the declaration read out in the National Assembly on August 4 – as The Sofia Globe reported at the time, listing the “areas of agreement” between ITN and the three groups – was sufficient and no written agreements were necessary.

ITN’s Prime Minister-designate Plamen Nikolov said on August 5 that talks were continuing and the fulfilled mandate would be handed to Radev after “absolute agreement” is reached.

Balabanov said that if the three groups declined to vote in favour of ITN’s proposed government, the country would head to elections.

Should the process of the first mandate not produce an elected government, a second mandate would go to the second-largest group, Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF. Borissov has said that he would not even send someone to Radev to collect the mandate.

The constitution allows the President a free hand to decide to which group to give the third mandate.

The BSP has said that it would propose voting the caretaker government into office as an elected government – an idea supported publicly only by the National Assembly’s smallest group, “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming”.

Democratic Bulgaria has expressed determination repeatedly that should it receive the mandate, it would make every effort to get a government elected.

Either on the question of voting for an ITN government, or whether it would attempt to form a government if it receives the third mandate, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms has made no clear statement.

(Photo of the Cabinet building:

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The Sofia Globe staff

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