GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria hold further talks

A working group meeting of representatives of the National Assembly’s two largest groups, GERB-UDF and We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, was held on April 26, with WCC-DB’s Nikolai Denkov emerging to say that it would be realistic to come up with a governance plan to last 18 months.

The meeting, while a sign of continuing dialogue between the two groups, offered no further clarity on whether Bulgaria would get an elected government, rather than face the risk of yet another early parliamentary election, and offered no clarity if stated efforts towards consensus on a governance programme would come to anything.

Denkov was the sole representative of WCC-DB at the talks, with GERB-UDF represented by parliamentary group head Dessislava Atanassova, GERB deputy leader Tomislav Donchev and MP Daniel Mitov.

“We (WCC-DB) believe that we should prepare a programme for 18 months, up to the end of 2024. The conversation revolved around how a process could be implemented that would lead to a programne for 18 months at the Cabinet, which should then be voted on in a set with a structure and composition that could receive support in the plenary hall,” Denkov said.

“We will write the programme, we are in an unconventional situation, unconventional solutions are being sought,” he said.

Responding to GERB-UDF’s insistence, voiced by its leader Boiko Borissov on April 25, that it should see WCC-DB’s proposed Cabinet line-up before deciding its approach, Denkov said: “We do not have a final decision whether the composition of the Cabinet will be presented in advance, we do not have a candidate Prime Minister at the moment”.

Atanassova said that GERB-UDF wanted to see WCC-DB’s proposed composition and structure of a Cabinet, if WCC-DB wanted GERB-UDF to “act unconventionally” and give up the first mandate to seek to form a government, allowing WCC-DB to go ahead with the second mandate. GERB-UDF’s deadline for WCC-DB to present its proposed government is May 2, after Bulgaria’s May 1 long weekend.

She called into question whether WCC-DB were seriously committed to what was agreed at the April 25 leaders meeting, to discuss a governance programme and the possibilities for a majority. Atanassova cited as evidence of this that WCC co-leader Assen Vassilev had, she said, given her his personal commitment to attend the April 26 talks, but had not turned up.

However, Atanassova said, “we have said that we will patiently go through the whole process”.

“Therefore, from tomorrow morning we will start a conversation on sectoral policies and we are making every effort to find a way out of the situation, which is not easy for anyone,” she said, adding that it was not an easy decision to try to proceed together towards an agreed majority and agreed policies.

Borissov, speaking to the GERB-UDF parliamentary group on April 25, said that after the past two years, it had emerged that “only an unconventional governance can get us out of the current crisis”.

“Do not get the impression that we (GERB-UDF and WCC-DB) are no longer opponents or something has changed in the firmness of the two parties,” Borissov said.

He said that there was no progress on the formation of a government, but there was progress on a governance programme.

Should GERB-UDF not get the answers it was seeking from WCC-DB by the time GERB-UDF receives the first mandate, his coalition would proceed to propose a minority government, Borissov said.

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