We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria’s Kiril Petkov said on May 23 that the proposed government format – which involves a deal between Parliament’s two largest coalitions for a government in which the post of Prime Minister will rotate between them – was not a coalition with GERB.
The deal was announced on May 22 by WCC-DB candidate Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov and GERB’s Maria Gabriel who, if the proposal is approved by Parliament, will succeed him as Prime Minister after Denkov holds the post for an initial nine months.
“This format is not a coalition, on the contrary – it was created precisely because we cannot form a coalition with GERB,” Petkov said in a post published on the page of WCC-DB’s Lena Borislavova.
“A coalition would be much easier if we trusted each other, but as I said before, we don’t,” Petkov said, referring to Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF.
“And because we don’t, we have to go into this complex construction of changing the Prime Minister in nine months,” he said.
Petkov said that it had to be clearly recognised that the promise (made by WCC-DB before and after Bulgaria’s April 2 early parliamentary elections) not to have a single person associated with GERB in a future cabinet based on the second mandate to seek to form a government had not been kept with the inclusion of Maria Gabriel.
“If this made our friends and constituents feel terrible, I apologise,” he said.
He said that he sincerely believed that in this situation “this is the best we can do”: “To have a government with ministers who will work for Bulgaria without stealing and to be able to fulfill many of our hopes for change – I deeply believe that it is possible with the form of government that we have presented.”
Petkov said that it was important to note that while the post of Prime Minister will rotate, the rest of the cabinet would remain the same.
“This model of government, when there is an impossibility for two parties to be in a coalition, but also an impossibility to form a cabinet without a general vote in the parliament, is the only one possible – we borrow it from countries like Ireland, Israel and Romania.
“So it is important to say that the rotation model applies when two political forces do not trust each other, but they cannot form a government without the votes of both.”
He said that he saw that some people were saying: “You form the government, but after nine months you may not support it”.
“No,” Petkov said. “Quite the opposite – we will respect our responsibility in this formula and we are doing it to reach at least 18 months in government. Eighteen months is the minimum time frame for Schengen, the euro zone, working on the recovery plan and unblocking all the infrastructure projects that need to happen if we want to be on the road to a normal European country.”
Petkov said that Gabriel was the key to this model being constructed.
“She is someone who has undeniable qualities and competence in Brussels. No one is under the impression that in order for the Eurozone and Schengen not to remain just words, someone must make them happen in Europe.
“I think that even the biggest critics of GERB cannot deny that Maria Gabriel has more experience than many others to make these two tasks work in Europe. I personally believe that with her as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the first nine months, and then as Prime Minister, she will give us a real chance for this to happen,” Petkov said.
“I also believe, precisely because she has not been in Bulgaria for so many years, makes her different from other political figures, so that she can be an important part of this rotation mechanism, without betraying our beliefs and a real fight against corruption.”
Responding to what he called the huge criticism “You surrendered and now there is no way to fight corruption”, he said: “I want to make it clear here: if the fight against corruption depends on whether Maria Gabriel is in or out of government, it is no fight at all”.
“We will be unyielding to anyone who tries to steal a single lev from public funds, regardless of whether that minister is from our party or any other party. We have already shown with our work with ITN that if we have to choose to close our eyes to potential corruption or to have the government fall, we will always do what we already did the first time – we will choose to have the government fall.”
Petkov said that the real other choice that was the alternative to the deal with GERB-UDF was to go to Bulgaria’s sixth consecutive parliamentary elections over the past two years.
“I don’t want to list here all the problems with this option, but still here are some real consequences of such a situation: 1) no Budget 2) we lose the money from the Recovery and Resilience Plan 3) no Schengen and euro zone 4) there is a collapse of statehood 5) no reforms in the prosecutor’s office and the regulators 6) the name of Bulgaria in front of the world becomes absolutely broken 7) we let the pseudo-nationalists grow and throw red paint at the European institutions under the pretext of a march for peace and win voters with the LIES that someone was going to send Bulgarians to fight in Ukraine.”
He said that this was only a fraction of the cost of consecutive elections, “and I have always felt that if one is faced with the dilemma of choosing between two options that are not good, analysing how bad only one option is and forgetting the other certainly gives limited analysis of this choice”.
Petkov said that he would not be a member of the cabinet.
With 64 WCC-DB MPs out of a total of 240, “this proposal for governing Bulgaria for the next 18 months is the best we can do,” he said.
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