Bulgaria’s Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) was regrouping on June 29 to consider what to do after the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) suspended government formation talks with it, irked by Prime Minister Petkov’s announcement of the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats suspected of espionage.
Without the BSP, the WCC has effectively no chance of getting a government elected, and even with it, has very little prospect of success.
WCC parliamentary group leader Andrei Gyurov told reporters in Parliament that he hoped that the BSP would rethink its position.
“We have until Friday, to the handing over of the mandate (to seek to form a government), so all options are on the table,” Gyurov said.
There has been no official announcement from the President’s office about when head of state Roumen Radev intends handing over the first mandate, which in accordance with the constitution must go to Parliament’s largest group, in this case WCC.
Parliament’s second-largest group, GERB, which would get the second mandate if WCC’s bid fails, has said that it does not intend proposing a government.
Radev has a free hand in deciding to which group to hand the third mandate, but it seems improbable that an attempt at that stage would succeed. Failure would set Bulgaria on course for early parliamentary elections.
Acting Speaker of Parliament Miroslav Ivanov, of WCC, said that Petkov would be WCC’s candidate Prime Minister.
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova, announcing her party’s suspension of talks with WCC, said earlier that the party would not accept a proposed government with Petkov at its head.
Hristo Ivanov, co-leader of Democratic Bulgaria – the other partner with which WCC had been intending to agree on a proposed government – said: “We need to find a way to nominate a government that will prevent us from slipping into this chaos.
“We are not just going to elections, but to a new Parliament that will also be barren and will not vote in a government,” Ivanov said.
Asked if he would advise WCC to withdraw Petkov as its Prime Minister nominee in order to get the BSP back to the negotiating table, Ivanov said that he did not rule out all possible options.
On June 29, Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party – the departure of which from the ruling coalition opened the way for the current crisis – continued to complain that Petkov was phoning its MPs, trying to poach them to his cause.
In Parliament, there were disputes as the BSP, backed by GERB and others, demanded that Petkov and the head of the State Agency for National Security be called to the House for a closed-door sitting on the expulsion of the Russian diplomats.
The National Assembly was sitting to debate and vote on the second reading of the Budget amendments.
MPs who wanted Petkov and the SANS head called immediately to Parliament accused Acting Speaker Ivanov of violating the constitution and the rules of procedure by not putting to the vote the proposal to summon them. Ivanov told the House that he wanted to check their availability.
WCC expressed concern that were the special hearing to go ahead immediately, this could torpedo efforts to get the second reading of the Budget amendments completed.
(Photo of Petkov: government.bg)
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