The eight parties within the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition are to decide on their response to the announcement by Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF that it is freezing negotiations on a government, WCC-DB’s Nikola Minchev said on May 28.
GERB-UDF made the announcement on May 27, after a recording of a WCC national council meeting on May 21 was made public, with Borissov’s coalition taking offence at several of the recorded comments.
The development has created severe turbulence for the agreement announced on May 22 between WCC-DB and GERB-UDF for WCC-DB to nominate a government in which the post of Prime Minister would be rotated between the two coalitions.
“We will get together and evaluate how to proceed from here on,” Minchev told Bulgarian National Radio.
He said that WCC-DB was counting on fulfilling the second mandate to seek to form a government, to which, as the second-largest parliamentary group, it is entitled. The office of President Roumen Radev has not yet announced when he will hand over this mandate.
“We will see what is best. The majority in each of the bodies will decide how to approach this,” Minchev said.
He said that the negotiations are frozen, but not terminated, and he expressed hope that “this window that has been left” would make it possible for talks to be concluded successfully.
Minchev said that this was “a matter of conversations between more people within the WCC and with DB”.
Asked why the PP insists on a political composition of the government, and does not accept an expert one, as insisted on by the DB and GERB, Minchev said that in the draft cabinet, announced before the handing over of the first mandate, there were people without political affiliations and people who were experts.
However, he did not rule out a completely expert formula with a short mandate as a possible option given the changed situation at the moment.
In a post on Facebook on the night of May 27, WCC said that there has to be a balance between the longevity of a political party and the effectiveness of that longevity.
In the recording, WCC co-leaders Assen Vassilev and Kiril Petkov seek to persuade their party colleagues about the post of Prime Minister rotating and GERB’s support for their mandate.
They argue that while they may lose voters from the alliance with GERB, it is more important that they will have a government that gives them chances to change what they want.
On May 28, Bulgarian media reported that Petkov had gone on an “unplanned” trip to Slovakia to open a party structure there. This emerged after an appearance by Petkov on a bTV morning programme was cancelled.
In a message on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, Petkov said: “Bulgaria needs a stable pro-EU government to work for Schengen, Eurozone accession, and true judicial reform to counter pro-Russian interference. Attempts to use unauthorized recordings of private political meetings to provoke institutional chaos will not succeed.”
DB co-leader Hristo Ivanov told Bulgarian National Radio: “There is no option for Bulgaria to go to early elections and there is no option not to continue the talks and not reach a government.
“There are very many reasons to freeze the talks and not be satisfied with the state of things, but there must be a return to the table for talks. There is no option that this will not happen and I hope it will happen,” Ivanov said.
He reiterated that DB’s opinion was that in this situation, the cabinet should not include political leaders and figures, but “a formula close to what is called an expert cabinet”.
On May 27, Vladislav Panev, leader of the Green Movement, a constituent party of DB, said that the decision announced by GERB-UDF’s Maria Gabriel to freeze the negotiations was a clever one.
Panev compared the situation to the suspension of trading on the stock exchange for 48 hours after a force majeure event.
“If we overcome our emotions in the first 48 hours, on Monday we will have reconsidered the decision,” Panev said.
He said it was perfectly logical for GERB-UDF to enter the negotiations from another position, “because they can make themselves look offended”. WCC-DB should not back down to GERB’s demand for more ministerial seats, he said.
(Archive photo, from July 2022: Minchev, Vassilev and Petkov)
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