GERB-UDF’s proposed Gabriel cabinet to include ‘experts’ from MRF, ITN

The proposed government that GERB-UDF candidate Prime Minister Maria Gabriel will present to President Roumen Radev at 3pm on May 22 will include “experts” from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and ITN, GERB-UDF MP Temenuzka Petkova said in a television interview.

Petkova told Nova Televizia on May 20 that talks about candidate cabinet ministers would continue up to and including Monday.

“The goal is to find the best experts for each position, people who know and can, with authority, navigate the situation as quickly as possible, so that we can lead Bulgaria out of the crisis,” she said.

The MRF and ITN are the only other parliamentary groups that have said that they would vote in favour of the government to be proposed on the basis of the first mandate, which is held by GERB-UDF.

Petkova did not indicate which cabinet portfolios GERB would keep for itself and which it would cede to other parties.

GERB deputy leader Tomislav Donchev told bTV on May 20: “There is no logic, if a cabinet is not formed with the first mandate, to support the second. Either there is a majority for a constitutional cabinet, or there is not”.

Donchev described the insistence of We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria that a government be formed on the basis of the second mandate, which it would hold, as “childish stubbornness”.

He said that there should not be prominent political figures in the government that Gabriel would present to Radev. The idea was to calm down the situation, Donchev said.

The fact that the MRF and ITN would support the proposed Gabriel government was “a political price that everyone has to pay,” he said.

WCC-DB MP Ivailo Mirchev told Bulgarian National Television on May 20: “A coalition with GERB is out of the question, and we will not support a government with the first mandate”.

Mirchev said that he did not believe that the reform of the judicial system that GERB had called for would be carried out by a Gabriel government.

“If GERB believes that it is possible to form a government with Gabriel and make some reforms, they have the right to try, but I do not think that this government will pass in Parliament. We do not believe that a constitutional reform government is possible with the first mandate, because the political forces that would support it are not the ones that would carry out a real constitutional reform.”

On the topic of the two-hour talks on May 19 between top figures from GERB-UDF and WCC-DB, described in media reports as a secret meeting, Mirchev said: “Yes, there was a meeting, but it was not a secret. At it, we confirmed our position that we cannot form a coalition with them”.

He said that it was impossible that MPs from WCC-DB would make up the shortfall of five votes that GERB-UDF needs to get its government elected.

“Always before such votes, rumours start – some will not enter, others have been bought, but the political price that will be paid by the political force that tried to do such a thing is so high that I don’t believe such a thing will happen,” he said.

“The only option for the country is a government with the second mandate, which works on the following clear priorities – constitutional reform in the prosecutor’s office, membership of the euro zone and entry into Schengen,” Mirchev said.

“Our goal in judicial reform is to reach at least the level of Romania. There are more than 100 MPs, 20 ministers and three prime ministers there, as well as MEPs convicted of corruption,” he said.

In Bulgaria, in three years, Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev had not found a single minister or MP committing any wrongdoing, Mirchev said.

“Why did Geshev dismiss the Corporate Commercial Bank case, which is the biggest theft in the country’s history? Why is the affair in Barcelona with the infamous house delayed for years?” he said, the latter a reference to a luxurious property allegedly owned by GERB-UDF leader Boiko Borissov, an allegation that Borissov denies.

In the current political situation, the government should be an expert one, equidistant from the political forces that supported it, Mirchev said.

He said that it was possible that at the second mandate stage, WCC-DB candidate Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov would propose a government with a line-up differing from the one announced by Denkov on May 2.

“It is possible that Denkov will propose another cabinet for the second mandate. We from Da Bulgaria have a decision of the national council on an expert government, because in this complex situation a political government is not a good option,” Mirchev said.

Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Alexander Simov told Bulgarian National Television on May 20 that the BSP had withdrawn from talks on a government with GERB-UDF because “the real problems of society were not raised”.

Simov did not believe that the proposed Gabriel government would be voted into office, because he did not believe that the shortfall of five votes would be made up.

“Parliament will be monitored very strictly and anyone who dares not to enter and anyone who dares not to vote in a way other than what their party has declared will bear a very heavy political price,” he said.

He said that the BSP would engage in talks with WCC-DB when it received the second mandate, but he predicted that those talks would fail for the same reason that the talks with GERB-UDF did.

On May 20, the BSP took a formal decision to vote against the proposed Gabriel government, and should matters reach the stage of Radev again appointing a caretaker government, BSP members are barred from being members of it.

(Photo of Gabriel: EC Audiovisual Service)

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