GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria in talks on nation’s Budget

Representatives of Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF and the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition devoted April 27 to talks on the Budget, while each side sent signals about manoeuvres on possibly negotiating a deal on an elected government – prospects of which remain unclear.

The caretaker government appointed by President Roumen Radev was said to be on the verge of approving, and tabling in Parliament, its proposed version of a draft Budget, including the controversial provision for a deficit of 6.4 per cent.

The GERB-UDF and WCC-DB teams also held talks with Finance Ministry officials, with WCC co-leader and former finance minister Assen Vassilev emerging to say that he believed that reducing to three per cent was an option that “seems quite realistic”.

Vassilev said that he expected that the teams would receive next week detailed information on the revenue and spending sides of the caretaker government’s proposed Budget, following which there would be talks on adjusting the deficit to three per cent.

He envisaged that what would happen would be that the Budget’s 6.4 per cent deficit would be rejected at first reading in the National Assembly, and amended before the second reading to provide for a three per cent deficit.

Meanwhile, public wrangling between GERB-UDF and WCC-DB over the process of mandates to seek to form a government continued on April 27.

WCC-DB has signalled that it wants GERB-UDF to renounce the first mandate to seek to form a government, so that WCC-DB can make an attempt with the second one. Earlier this week, Borissov said that WCC-DB should disclose its intended government line-up so that GERB-UDF can decide its stance, with GERB-UDF later setting a deadline of the close of the long weekend for WCC-DB to do so.

Speaking on April 27, Borissov said that if the two coalitions could be reach an agreement on a governance programme, it would be “irrelevant” which mandate would be used to form a government.

Borissov said that it was “illogical” for WCC-DB to say that it would form a government with the second mandate, but was refusing to disclose the line-up.

He cast scorn on the possibility of WCC-DB governing with a floating majority while the coalition repeatedly said that it would not govern with GERB-UDF.

Earlier on April 27, WCC-DB MP Andrei Gyurov said that there should be no ultimatums and threats if the talks between GERB-UDF and WCC-DB were to succeed. This was an apparent reference to the GERB-UDF deadline to see the line-up of WCC-DB’s proposed cabinet at the close of the long weekend.

“The moment we have a governance programme and a government line-up to implement this programme, we will present them. Whether that happens on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, it does not depend on the target dates set by Mr Boiko Borissov, but on how we do our work openly and with clarity about the goals,” Gyurov said.

WCC-DB’s Nikolai Denkov said that the group was working on the composition of a cabinet to propose before the first mandate was handed over.

However, Denkov declined to give a guarantee that this would happen by Sunday.

“We are working on the draft composition of the cabinet. When there is some readiness, it must first go through the national council. We are trying to be in the time frame that was presented by the colleagues from GERB. We told them clearly that we must go through our procedure and that requires time, so we will try to be as fast as possible, but without compromising quality,” he said.

(Photo: Todor Bozhinov)

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