GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria announce deal on government
We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria candidate Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov and his GERB-UDF counterpart Maria Gabriel announced on May 22 that the leaderships of the two coalitions had reached a deal that would make it possible for a government to be elected.
The envisages a government to be in office for at least 18 months, with Denkov as Prime Minister and Gabriel as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and for the remaining nine months, the post of Prime Minister would rotate to Gabriel with Denkov serving as deputy head of government.
The agreement requires the support of the WCC-DB and GERB-UDF parliamentary groups, which in coming days must be persuaded that the deal announced on Monday is the correct approach.
The announcement came just less than an hour before Gabriel was due to meet head of state President Roumen Radev to return the mandate received by GERB-UDF on May 15 as the largest parliamentary group.
The envisaged government will be proposed on the basis of the second mandate to seek to form a government, to be held by WCC-DB. In Bulgaria’s 240-seat National Assembly, GERB-UDF has 69 MPs and WCC-DB 64 MPs, together making 133 – over the threshold to get a government elected.
WCC-DB is to propose a government that can implement constitutional reform with broad parliamentary and public support, fulfill all requirements related to the country’s full membership in the EU – meaning entry to the euro zone and the Schengen visa zone, and implement comprehensive judicial reform.
Envisaged in a programme featuring a Budget with a three per cent deficit and preservation of social payments; returning machine voting as the sole option in elections and changing the composition of the Central Election Commission; development of a mechanism for selecting the composition of regulators; and legislative changes to free the leadership of the security services from foreign influence.
Changes to the initial line-up and structure of the cabinet will be made only with the consent of both coalitions.
“The situation is extremely difficult. After five elections in a row, we have difficulty forming a regular cabinet and there is a real danger of going to the next election in a row with no clear result,” Denkov said.
He cited the joint efforts by WCC-DB and GERB-UDF on a legislative programme.
Denkov said that if the priorities set for the proposed government were deviated from, he would resign as Prime Minister.
Gabriel thanked the Bulgarian Socialist Party, ITN and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms for the negotiations in which she had engaged with them.
The announcement on May 22 overtakes developments at the weekend, when first GERB-UDF envisaged a proposed government including nominees put forward by the MRF and ITN, at that stage the two parliamentary groups that had said that they would vote in favour of the GERB-UDF proposal.
On Sunday evening, amid media reports that WCC-DB and GERB-UDF were discussing a proposed government that would see the prime ministerial post rotate between the two coalitions, ITN reversed itself to say it would not vote in favour of the GERB-UDF proposed government. The BSP had already announced it would vote against, as earlier Vuzrazhdane did.
“It didn’t work out with the BSP – obviously we have more differences than convergence. Leading the negotiations, I think it was equally clear that a stable government between the first two political forces has the opportunity to stand on a sound and principled basis,” Gabriel said.
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