Bulgarian President Roumen Radev will on August 27 offer the third and final mandate to seek to form a government to the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), according to a statement by his office.
Following Bulgaria’s July early parliamentary elections, the first two exploratory mandates to seek to get a government elected by the National Assembly proved fruitless. If the third mandate fails, the President must dissolve Parliament and call what would be Bulgaria’s third parliamentary elections in 2021.
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova told reporters in the corridors of Parliament: “We fully understand the responsibility we are now taking on at the third mandate as a last resort. We are facing serious challenges as a state and as a people”.
Ninova said that the BSP would show “reason and dialogue” to what she termed “the other parties of the protest”.
In saying that, Ninova was seeking to group her party with others that were involved in the summer 2020 protests against Boiko Borissov’s government and Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev.
She said that her party would invite the “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming” group, Democratic Bulgaria and Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party for talks.
Ninova said that the BSP would take an approach different from that of ITN, which as the largest group in the current National Assembly received the first mandate.
“We will not set conditions, we will not set pre-determined candidacies for prime minister and ministers. We want this decision to be made together,” she said.
There was an immediate reaction from ITN, which since scuppering its own attempt to get a government elected has said that it would vote against a government nominated with the third mandate.
“We cannot form a cabinet with them (the BSP),” ITN MP Filip Stanev said. “From the point of view of our position, we are moving towards elections,” he said.
Earlier, ITN said that it would not participate in talks arising from the third mandate and would not put forward any candidate ministers.
Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition has said it would oppose a government proposed with the third mandate.
Together, ITN and GERB-UDF have 128 out of the 240 seats in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, with their opposition making – on the face of it – the approval of a government impossible.
Hristo Ivanov, co-leader of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, has said previously that the coalition would not support a government formed on the basis of a mandate held by the BSP.
On August 16, Bulgarian National Radio reported Ivanov as expressing surprise that the third mandate would go to the BSP. A decision whether to participate in talks would be taken by the constituent parties of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, he was reported as saying.
There has been considerable speculation that, given that presidential elections are due in the autumn – with Radev seeking a second term in office – the early parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously.
The groups in the National Assembly have not yet agreed, after two weeks of formal and informal talks, on a date for presidential elections, beyond a broad consensus that they should be in November.
In line with the constitution, the presidential election process in 2021 must conclude before November 21, two months before the end of the current President’s term.
(Photo, of a BSP delegation headed by Ninova meeting Radev and his senior staff during consultations earlier in August: president.bg)
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