Bulgaria: GERB-UDF holds talks with three parliamentary groups
Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF, which as the largest parliamentary group will be the first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government, held talks on May 4 with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and ITN.
Borissov said that in spite of speculation in the media, GERB-UDF had no intention of forming a governing coalition with the MRF and BSP, but was seeking support from all parties.
GERB-UDF turned to talks with the four smaller groups in the 49th National Assembly after it became clear that a deal with We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (WCC-DB) on a coalition government involving GERB-UDF and WCC-DB was unachievable.
GERB-UDF parliamentary group leader Dessislava Atanassova said at the start of the meeting with the MRF that given the situation in the country, the responsibility for making difficult and unpopular decisions should be shared.
The focus of the talks between GERB-UDF and the other parliamentary groups is GERB-UDF’s governance programme, intended for a government that lasts a full term of office of four years, with an emphasis on Bulgaria joining the euro zone and the Schengen visa zone, stabilising public finances and making Bulgaria a calm and safe place to live, according to Atanassova.
MRF deputy leader Yordan Tsonev said after the meeting that experts from the two parliamentary groups had full consensus on the geopolitical orientation of Bulgaria.
Tsonev said that a government on the basis of a second mandate – which would go to WCC-DB as the National Assembly’s second-largest group – was “impossible”.
Whether the MRF would vote in favour of government nominated by GERB-UDF would be decided at a meeting of the groups’ respective leaders, he said.
Atanassova, speaking after the meeting with the BSP, said that the main topics discussed were the Budget, health care and social policy.
“We are the two parties with a very strong political and personal clash. It is good that now it is possible to discuss priorities together. We are close on some policies, on others we are not. We have no contradictions on foreign policy, except for aid to Ukraine,” Atanassova said.
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said that if GERB-UDF wanted to get a government into office “they need to change their approach”.
She said that she said this because instead of discussing GERB-UDF’s governance programme, the BSP was presented with GERB-UDF’s programme agreed with WCC-DB.
“With us, the games that were played with WCC and DB cannot be played. If GERB really intends to have a working Parliament and a regular government, which we are already beginning to doubt, for us the approach must be different: First – remove five to six national tasks that are supra-party, and we are not discussing the programme of one party or another. must do this work for Bulgaria and for the people,” Ninova said.
ITN parliamentary group leader Toshko Yordanov said that the party’s meeting with GERB-UDF was not about supporting a government nominated by GERB-UDF, but a “conversation between experts on sectoral policies”.
“I would say that in terms of the Budget, we have similar right-wing political understandings. We have differences in some places – the judicial reform and the things set by Kiril and Assen changes in the Recovery and Sustainability Plan” Yordanov said, referring to WCC co-leaders Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev.
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