Bulgaria: GERB-UDF accepts mandate to seek to form government

GERB-UDF accepted a mandate on March 18 to seek to form a government, naming Maria Gabriel as its Prime Minister-designate.

The ceremony at the Presidency came amid high drama and questions whether Bulgaria will proceed to an elected government or early parliamentary elections.

Proceedings started about 15 minutes late, the delay resulting from continuing negotiations between GERB-UDF and We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria.

Notably, the delegation, led by GERB-UDF parliamentary group deputy leader Temenuzhka Petkova and including GERB-UDF’s Gabriel, Raya Nazaryan and Denitsa Sacheva, also included outgoing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, of WCC-DB, and WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov.

President Roumen Radev, handing over the mandate, issued a reminder that GERB-UDF has seven days to fulfil it.

Gabriel said: “I am accepting the mandate on behalf of GERB-UDF with a sense of responsibility – because Bulgaria needs stability that is based on clear principles and shared responsibility. In this regard, I would like to ask you to sit down and share some additional information”.

The night before the ceremony, GERB-UDF held a news conference to say that it was poised to not accept the mandate unless WCC-DB agreed that GERB-UDF would be an equal partner in governance.

WCC-DB responded that GERB-UDF did not want to accept the draft agreement prepared jointly by the negotiating team, and called for the personal intervention of GERB-UDF leader Boiko Borissov.

The morning saw media reports claiming that a deal had been struck, and some media published a purported list of proposed Cabinet ministers, although it seemed that the list amounted to GERB-UDF’s proposal, rather than an agreed line-up.

The Sofia Globe staff

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