Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on December 14 to reject the candidacy put forward by Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition of Nikolai Gabrovski as prime minister.
GERB-UDF had billed the proposed cabinet as an “expert” one.
Of the 240 members of Bulgaria’s Parliament, 238 voted. There were 113 in favour of the Gabrovski candidacy – 67 from GERB-UDF, 35 from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and 11 from Stefan Yanev’s Bulgaria Ascending party. There were 125 votes against, from the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change party, Vuzrazhdane, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition.
The vote took place after three hours of debate, with GERB-UDF parliamentary leader Dessislava Atanassov describing the proposed government as a “message of the need for competent governance”.
We Continue the Change parliamentary leader Andrei Gyurov said that the proposed government did not meet the most important condition, to be able to bear political responsibility.
“We are offered an expert government, but here we cannot help but have our doubts. Every cabinet is political because it must be appointed and supported by political figures,” Gyurov said.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Mustafa Karadayi said that the moment was “historic”, fateful for the future of the country, in view of the war in Ukraine, the economic crisis and the lack of operational programmes.
Karadayi said that it was easy to say no to the proposed Gabrovski government, but the alternative was early elections that would replicate the current situation.
Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov told the House: “The best decision is to go to elections. There is nothing wrong with that”.
Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova said that the country’s politicians had two tasks – to continue the fight against the “parallel state” and to lead Bulgaria through the crises. The opportunities to do so would come with the second and third mandates to seek to form a government, she said.
Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov said that Bulgaria needed deep change, without which the political crisis could not be solved. He said that Democratic Bulgaria approved of Gabrovski’s stated priorities, but saw no guarantees that they would be implemented.
Bulgaria Ascending’s Yanev said that his party supported Gabrovski as a candidate prime minister, but would not vote in favour of the proposed cabinet because it was not clear who would bear the political responsibility.
“Going to elections should not scare us,” Yanev said.
The attempt with the first mandate to seek to form a government having proven fruitless, the President must now offer the second mandate to Parliament’s second-largest group, We Continue the Change. Should the Petkov-Vassilev party accept the mandate, it will have seven days to fulfil it.
Should the second mandate prove fruitless, President Roumen Radev has, according to the constitution, a free choice to offer the third mandate to the minority party of his choice.
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