Bulgarian head of state President Roumen Radev began on April 20 two days of consultations with the six groups in the 49th National Assembly ahead of handing over the first mandate to seek to form a government.
Radev first met a delegation from GERB-UDF, the largest parliamentary group and thus to be the one to receive the first mandate.
He told the GERB-UDF delegation – headed by Boiko Borissov, present for such consultations for the first time in a number of years – that the largest parliamentary group had the greatest responsibility for forming a government, one that should be formed as quickly as possible and with the broadest possible support in Parliament, amid the conditions of war and crisis.
Radev asked the delegation when he should hand over the first mandate, to which the GERB-UDF group signalled that it did not want Radev to hasten to do so.
GERB-UDF’s Dessislava Atanassova said that the earliest parliamentary committees could start work was at the end of next week or after May 1.
Atanassova said that with the agreement of all other parliamentary groups, as many laws as possible could be considered within two to three weeks.
She named as priority legislation those bills tabled by the caretaker government that were linked to the Recovery and Resilience Plan, accession to the euro zone and to the Schengen visa one, as two bills related to judicial reform.
Borissov, speaking to reporters after the meeting with Radev, repeated his pre-election statement that he would not be the candidate Prime Minister.
He said that a proposed government could be formed very quickly, and half of the GERB-UDF parliamentary group were former cabinet ministers.
Borissov reiterated his stated view that the most stable government would be a coalition between GERB-UDF and Parliament’s second-largest group, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria. WCC-DB repeatedly has rejected supporting a government nominated by GERB or with GERB participation.
WCC-DB was Radev’s second meeting of the day, where he again raised the question of their view when he should hand over the mandate to seek to form a government.
WCC-DB co-leader Kiril Petkov outlined the priorities in the legislative programme it earlier agreed with GERB-UDF – the ability for the Prosecutor-General to be investigated, the reform of the anti-corruption commission, and legislation linked to accession to the euro zone and Schengen.
WCC-DB’s Nikolai Denkov said that three months would be needed to approve the crucial legislation.
Radev responded that he had taken a “big political risk” in dragging out the mandate-handing process at the time of the 48th National Assembly, saying that he had taken this approach in the hope that passions would be cooled and an elected government would be agreed on.
He said that this approach had produced no result, while no crucial laws were not passed and instead the National Assembly had devoted its time to amending the Electoral Code in a way that resulted in unprecedented chaos in the April elections.
Radev recently signalled that this time around, he would not delay in handling the mandate-handing process.
According to the presidency’s official website, Radev is due to hold talks on April 21 with the remaining four parliamentary groups, in order of size – Vuzrazhdane, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and ITN.
(Main photo, of Radev’s April 20 meeting with GERB-UDF: president.bg)
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