GERB-UDF’s candidate PM: Reactions range from rejection to a door ajar

Reactions among parliamentary groups to the May 10 announcement by GERB-UDF coalition leader Boiko Borissov that European Commissioner Maria Gabriel is the coalition’s candidate Prime Minister ranged from outright rejection to others who cautiously left the door open for talks on a possible government.

Unsurprisingly and consistently with its long-standing stance, Parliament’s second-largest group, the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, rejected the move.

WCC-DB’s Daniel Lorer told reporters that the coalition would not support GERB-UDF and its candidate Prime Minister.

A major reason was that GERB-UDF should not be allowed into government, Lorer said.

He said that the issue was fundamental to WCC-DB’s voters, to whom the coalition had promised not to support a GERB-UDF government because of the lack of trust in GERB.

Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the third-largest group, pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane, said that Gabriel was “not the person who can take responsibility for running the country for a number of reasons”.

Kostadinov, who went on to use a number of epithets about Gabriel, rejected GERB-UDF’s proposal for a government based on parliamentary groups sharing responsibility.

Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) leader Mustafa Karadayi confirmed that the MRF would accept an invitation from GERB-UDF for talks on a government.

However, Karadayi did not make clear whether the MRF would nominate people from among its ranks to be cabinet ministers.

“First, let’s get an invitation. Second, let’s see what they’re going to offer. And then we’ll join the talks, so let’s go step by step, not get ahead of the events. Now there’s a candidate for Prime Minister announced right now, let’s hear from the candidate for Prime Minister at least three or five priorities, what will she announce in general as intention and direction,” Karadayi said.

Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Kornelia Ninova said that Borissov had “made another mistake”.

Ninova said that the BSP had proposed that first there should be a meeting of leaders, “at which five, six, seven important priorities for Bulgaria should be specified and to seek agreement on them”.

“If we achieve that, let’s set reasonable deadlines for implementation and only then look for the Prime Minister and the ministers,” she said

The BSP would still respond to the invitation to meet Gabriel on May 11, but it was not clear what they would talk about, what programme and what policies, Ninova said.

Once tasks and deadlines were clear, the BSP would conduct three days of internal polling before deciding whether to participate in the cabinet, she said.

Stanislav Balabanov, an MP for Parliament’s smallest group, ITN, welcomed Gabriel’s candidacy, given her good CV.

But support for a GERB-UDF government would have to preceded by “in-depth talks regarding programmes and priorities,” Balabanov said.

“Yes, the personality is sufficiently proven in Europe, but we do not know what the ideas and priorities will be.”

Balabanov said that in the exacerbated political situation, it was best to form a cabinet of shared responsibility.

President Roumen Radev will on May 15 hand to the GERB-UDF Prime Minister-designate the first mandate to seek to form a government. The constitution sets a deadline of seven days for the holder of the first mandate to propose a government.

(Photo of Maria Gabriel: EC Audiovisual Service)

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