Bulgaria: GERB-UDF’s talks on government leave impasse in place

Bulgaria is heading towards its May 6 long weekend with no clarity whether rounds of talks among parliamentary groups will lead to the election of a government.

In a week’s time, it will be a month since the 49th National Assembly held its first sitting, but the political logjam, a consequence of which is a continued failure to elect heads of standing committees, is leaving the Parliament elected on April 2 with little to do but hold hearings of caretaker cabinet ministers.

On May 5, talks were held between representatives of Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition and the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, with no formal statements afterwards, and a continuing dispute whether a government should be formed on the basis of the first or second mandate.

GERB-UDF is continuing to insist that the only chance for a government to be elected is on the basis of the first mandate, which, as the largest parliamentary group, it is entitled to receive.

WCC-DB is continuing to insist that the second mandate, to which it is entitled, should be the basis for forming a government, and wants GERB-UDF’s support for this.

Borissov, speaking to reporters on May 5, said that there would be new meetings of leaders “only when everyone thinks and matures about the idea of supporting a cabinet with the first mandate”.

He said that the resumption of negotiations with WCC-DB on a governance programme was a good sign, adding that from GERB-UDF’s talks on May 4 with three smaller parliamentary groups, it was clear that there was no way that a government could be elected on the basis of the second mandate.

Borissov gave WCC-DB what he called a “last chance” to give up their “arrogance, illogicality, misunderstanding” because WCC-DB had 64 MPs and “there is no way to give them absolute power”.

WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov said that there were three choices facing GERB-UDF: “Option one (a government with) the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, option two we go to elections, we take a risk, the third choice is very simple – they support a government with the second mandate”.

GERB-UDF, having held talks on May 4 with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Bulgarian Socialist Party and ITN, held talks on May 5 with Vuzrazhdane. Nothing of significance emerged from the talks with Vuzrazhdane, which continues to insist that it will vote for no proposed government other than one nominated on the basis of a mandate it holds.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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