President Roumen Radev has handed the third and final exploratory mandate to seek to form a government to Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Kornelia Ninova, who pledged to present a candidate prime minister on September 3.
Should this third stage of the process fail, Bulgaria would have to hold its third parliamentary elections this year, a development widely seen as inevitable.
This is because groups holding the largest shares of seats in the National Assembly oppose this final attempt at forming a government, while at least one refuses to accept the idea of the election of a government nominated by the BSP.
Cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party, as the largest parliamentary group, received the first mandate but scuppered the nomination of its proposed cabinet, saying that it wanted Bulgaria to hold another parliamentary election. GERB-UDF, the second-largest group, accepted the second mandate but handed it back immediately.
Ninova said that her party would immediately approach other groups for talks on a proposed government.
“We will make an effort to form a regular cabinet with a majority in Parliament, which will take measures for reform, to change the current model of government, to ensure in the coming months the stability of Bulgaria and security for Bulgarian citizens. We will try our best to guarantee security and stability,” she said.
“We will suggest to our colleagues from the other parties that all conversations be public from beginning to end,” Ninov said.
At such difficult moments, all kinds of manipulations, rumours and gossip begin, which would harm a serious negotiation process. That is why we will suggest, I hope they accept, that everything from the beginning to the end be public. Let the people know who insists on what, who does not want and why they do not want,” she said.
On August 26, when Ninova announced – before the President’s office did – that her party would receive the third mandate, ITN said that it would vote against any proposed cabinet, in particular one nominated by the BSP.
Democratic Bulgaria coalition co-leader Hristo Ivanov expressed regret that Radev had not held preliminary consultations in search of the most suitable mandate holder and issued a reminder that Democratic Bulgaria already had decided not to support a cabinet proposed by the BSP.
The constituent parties of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition will decide this weekend whether to participate in talks with the BSP at all.
Nikolai Hadzhigenov of the “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming” coalition, the smallest group in the current National Assembly, said that the group would take part in the negotiations, but was sceptical about the possibility of reaching a consensus solution.
GERB-UDF has expressed scepticism about a regular government being elected, and has accused Radev of wanting to keep in place the caretaker government he appointed, up to the autumn presidential elections in which he is seeking a second term in office.
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