Clock ticking for WCC’s bid to form new government of Bulgaria

With 24 hours to go to the deadline to propose a government or give up the attempt, We Continue the Change (WCC) party co-leader candidate Prime Minister Assen Vassilev indicated that there was still not enough support in Parliament to vote a new Cabinet into office.

A draft line-up of a proposed Vassilev Cabinet is ready, but Vassilev declined to speak about the structure and membership, saying that the lack of the 121 MPs needed to vote it into office rendered such talk meaningless.

WCC co-leader and outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov confirmed that he was being proposed as part of the draft Vassilev Cabinet.

But that draft Cabinet may never be put to the vote in Parliament, if Vassilev – facing a deadline of 5pm on July 8 to report the outcome of his efforts to President Roumen Radev – decides to tell the head of state that he is returning the mandate to seek to form a government unfulfilled.

Both Petkov and Vassilev said that talks with MPs to seek backing were continuing on July 7.

“We are obliged to try to the end. From there on, every MP has a head on his shoulders, has a conscience and must consider whether to support the programme that we have presented,” Vassilev said.

He emphasised the importance of the programme, which he described as “quite specific, with clear deadlines and clear commitments, with a very strong judicial reform.”

Earlier on July 7, Petkov said that WCC wanted to change the conversation so that it would not be a matter of supporting or not supporting the proposed government: “We have clear policies, strategies and goals”.

Also earlier on July 7, Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov said that no talks had been held with his group about the line-up of a proposed Cabinet.

Ivanov criticised WCC for not commenting on the question of how “the government would function as a decision-making process”.

“The fundamental reason why the previous coalition fell apart was the poorly constructed model of decision-making and communication, and it is very important that the next administration, so to speak, learns from this,” Ivanov said.

“That this conversation has not yet been held with our participation does not please us, let’s say. We understand how important it is now to find some kind of majority, but time is running out,” he said.

In a separate development on July 7, the GERB-UDF group said that it would no longer attend sittings of the National Assembly to provide a quorum, save to vote against a proposed Vassilev Cabinet.

Should WCC’s bid to propose a government prove fruitless, the second mandate to seek to form a government would go to GERB-UDF, which has said that it would hand it back immediately without attempting to come up with a Cabinet.

That would trigger the third stage of the mandate-handing process. The constitution gives the President a free hand in choosing to which parliamentary group to hand the third mandate.

Should the third-mandate stage fail, the President would dissolve Parliament, appoint a caretaker government and decree a date for early parliamentary elections, two months hence from the date of Parliament being dissolved.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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