Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition has named Nikolai Gabrovski, a surgeon with no previous national political profile, as its candidate prime minister.
Gabrovski’s candidacy emerged on December 5 as a delegation from GERB-UDF, the largest group in the National Assembly following Bulgaria’s October early parliamentary elections, received from President Roumen Radev the first of three mandates to seek to get a government elected.
This came a day after Borissov said that he himself would be the best candidate prime minister, but his coalition could name a neutral figure to head a government that would “return stability” to Bulgaria.
GERB-UDF has seven days to nominate a cabinet line-up, which Borissov and other senior figures in the coalition repeatedly have said it intends to proceed to do.
To be elected, a government requires at least 121 votes in favour in Bulgaria’s 240-seat Parliament.
The leaders of four parliamentary groups have said that they would vote against a government nominated on the basis of a mandate held by GERB-UDF.
Together, those four groups have 137 votes: Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev’s We Continue the Change (65), Vuzrazhdane (27), the Bulgarian Socialist Party (25) and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition (20).
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (36 MPs) has said that after GERB-UDF receives the first mandate, it would negotiate with Borissov’s coalition, while the smallest group in Parliament, Stefan Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending (12 MPs), has spoken in favour of having an elected government in any form – expert, programme or compose of party political figures – on the basis of “principles”.
Should the mandate handed to GERB-UDF prove fruitless, either by being defeated in the Parliament or by being returned unfulfilled to Radev, the head of state must offer the second mandate to the Petkov-Vassilev WCC, as the second-largest group in the National Assembly.
Should that second mandate not result in an elected government, Radev would have to decide to which group to offer the third mandate. The constitution confers on the head of state a free choice regarding this.
Radev stretched out over a month the process of consultations with the seven parliamentary groups ahead of offering the first mandate, saying that he did so to give the groups ample time to reach an understanding on electing a government.
He has said that if matters reach the third-mandate stage, he would hand it over only early in the new year, so that should it prove fruitless, early parliamentary elections would be held no earlier than March 2023.
(Photo of Gabrovski and Radev: president.bg)
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