Bulgaria: We Continue the Change in a huddle over possible GERB government

At the initiative of We Continue the Change (WCC) co-leader Kiril Petkov, the party was holding internal discussions on May 13 on its attitude to the possibility of co-operating with regard to a government nominated by GERB-UDF and headed by that coalition’s Prime Minister-designate Maria Gabriel.

This was a signal differing from the message that We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria has been sending before and since Bulgaria’s April 2 early parliamentary elections, that it would not support a government nominated by GERB-UDF or in which Boiko Borissov’s coalition is involved.

The move came after WCC-DB held talks on May 12 with Gabriel, in an event shown live on public television. In the latter part of the talks, Borissov entered the room, and in his statements, among other things offered WCC co-leader Assen Vassilev the Finance Minister portfolio.

Petkov told local television station bTV on May 12 that he had been impressed with the “European behaviour” of Gabriel – currently a European Commissioner, in a second term – and how she had given “substantive” answers to WCC-DB’s questions.

Petkov said that after the meeting, he had not “locked the door”.

WCC’s executive council was meeting to consider some “alternative thinking” on the matter, so that Bulgaria not only did not end up with a government involving GERB-UDF, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, but also that WCC did not break its promise not to support GERB-UDF.

“We have a clear decision, we are not turning around, but before we say a firm ‘no”, I want everyone to think if there is another option, other than to give the country to a triple coalition, which we do not believe will fulfill the tasks we set in our plan for Bulgaria,” Petkov said.

“I saw in her face (Gabriel’s) a person who had come to have a real conversation, not to make some show or just to hear ‘no’ from us to go to the MRF and BSP.”

Dessislava Atanassova, the head of the GERB-UDF parliamentary group – which as the 49th National Assembly’s largest group will be the first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government – spoke on May 12 of not waiting for WCC-DB, but also said that there was time until the handing over of the mandate. The ceremony is scheduled for May 15 at 3pm.

Regarding the MRF, BSP and ITN, Atanassova said: “We have enough time until the handover of the mandate, but we can also meet after that.”

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