The Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) party will stand alone in Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections on October 2, the party said after a national council meeting on August 18.
This means that WCC has turned down the proposal from Democratic Bulgaria, one of its partners in the December 2021 coalition government, to stand together in an electoral coalition.
Internal polling commissioned by WCC on the two scenarios – standing on its own or standing in an electoral pact with Democratic Bulgaria – had shown little difference regarding the outcome projected for October 2.
WCC said: “We believe that this formula will bring Bulgaria the coalition majority that will complete the work started by the Petkov Cabinet. Democratic Bulgaria remains our natural ally on the path to change in the country”.
WCC, which won the largest share of seats in Bulgaria’s third parliamentary elections in 2021 and went on to form a quadripartite ruling coalition, has been registered officially by Sofia City Court as a political party. As a fledgling, it stood in the November 2021 early parliamentary elections using the registration of two minority parties.
Petkov and Vassilev served as members of the first of two caretaker governments in Bulgaria in 2021, before emerging to found WCC.
In office, the coalition government formed with the mandate conferred on WCC sought to engage in sweeping reforms on several fronts, positioning itself against entrenched systems of corruption and undue influence that it portrayed as having gone before under previous recent governments.
WCC also has positioned itself as firmly pro-EU and pro-Nato in Bulgaria’s political spectrum, though in government these policies were troubled by its then-governing coalition partner, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which drew a red line against Bulgarian military assistance for Ukraine after that country was targeted for war by Putin’s Russia.
After months of embarking on attempts at reform, the coalition government, in which Petkov was Prime Minister, was brought down in a vote of no confidence in Parliament after its erstwhile partner, cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN, defected to side with Boiko Borissov’s GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, as well as pro-Kremlin minority party Vuzrazhdane, to oust the reformist government.
Political events in Bulgaria in recent months also have been characterised by open tensions between, on the one side, Petkov and Vassilev, and on the other, President Roumen Radev, who has appointed his latest caretaker government that appears bent on rolling back the policies initiated by the Petkov-Vassilev WCC – policies including solidarity with Ukraine, and on endeavouring to secure Bulgaria’s energy independence from Russia.
Ahead of the October 2 elections, WCC is confident that, as it did in November 2021, it will again get the largest share of votes, with the constitution thus entitling it to be the first parliamentary group to seek to form a government.
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