Bulgaria’s 2021 elections: Petkov says talks on government formation to start

Two days after the We Continue the Change (WCC) party won the largest share of votes in Bulgaria’s November 14 early parliamentary elections, WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov said that talks would start with three other parliamentary groups on the formation of a government to be elected by the new National Assembly.

Petkov, who has said that he would be WCC’s prime minister-designate, said that he had spoken on November 15 with ITN party leader Slavi Trifonov, Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova and Democratic Bulgaria coalition co-leader Hristo Ivanov.

Speaking in an interview with Nova Televizia, Petkov said that WCC co-leader Assen Vassilev would be the party’s candidate finance minister (a post that Vassilev held in the May-September 2021 caretaker administration) and he said that he liked caretaker Interior Minister Boiko Rashkov, but his party would not enter government talks with pre-arranged names.

“If our partners convince us that they have better candidates and a better way of governing, we would listen,” Petkov said.

He said that the election campaign had shown that WCC had many topics in common with other parties, giving as an example that both WCC and ITN wanted Ivan Geshev ousted as Prosecutor-General.

Petkov said that WCC wanted Sotir Tsatsarov, Geshev’s immediate predecessor as prosecutor-general, replaced as head of the anti-corruption commission.

“I want the Prosecutor-General to be replaced and the Prosecutor’s Office to work in the best way,” Petkov said. “As long as we do not have a functional Prosecutor-General’s office, we cannot catch a single thief,” he said.

“If we do not have a functioning Prosecutor’s Office, there is no point in WCC being in power.”

Petkov said that negotiations would be conducted on the basis of a new model.

Instead of speaking to each party separately, working groups on key topics would be formed with representatives of the parties with which negotiations would be held.

There would be a meeting of leaders, but these talks would not be about who would get which ministerial portfolio, but about organising a process that would “unite the teams from the very beginning”.

Bulgaria’s November 14 parliamentary elections were the country’s third in 2021, after the earlier two failed to result in a government being elected.

As the party that received the largest share of votes this past Sunday, WCC will be entitled to receive the first mandate to seek to form a government.

Most observers believe that the election of a government would not be possible unless WCC, ITN, the BSP and Democratic Bulgaria could achieve a deal. These groups have said repeatedly that they want to keep Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition, which ran second on November 14, out of power.

(Photo of Petkov from WCC’s Facebook page)

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