We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria infuriated at GERB-UDF over proposed government

The leadership of the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition hit out at GERB-UDF in sharply-worded statements at a news conference on the evening of March 19, a few hours after GERB-UDF Prime Minister-designate Maria Gabriel presented a proposed government, though the line-up had not been agreed with WCC-DB.

President Roumen Radev, soon after receiving the proposed government, signed the decree opening the way for a vote on the proposed government to be held in Parliament, due to hold the first sitting of the week on March 20.

Photo of Gabriel and Radev: president.bg

While the leaders of the constituent parties of WCC-DB all hit out at GERB-UDF for the manouevre of presenting a proposed Gabriel government, there was no immediate statement of how WCC-DB would vote in Parliament on the matter.

Outgoing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, listed as candidate Deputy PM in the list presented by Gabriel, said that the proposed government presented to Radev had not been agreed with the WCC-DB negotiating team.

“Nothing calls for such haste, there were several controversial points and we were ready to continue negotiating until we reach a final agreement on all points in the two documents,” Denkov said, referring to the differing documents proposed by the two coalitions.

Denkov said: “A significant number of those nominated for ministers did not agree to participate in the Cabinet, including me. I have prepared a declaration stating that I do not want to be nominated in the composition of this Cabinet”.

“There is no agreement on the text of the agreement either. It was discussed, but controversial texts remained that were never fully discussed,” he said.

Denkov said that the fact that GERB-UDF had left the negotiations and went to Radev on the first day of the exploratory mandate to form a government was a sign that “in recent days, there was no desire on the other side for a real negotiation process, but one was simulated”.

WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov said that he had lost confidence in Gabriel, who had shown that she did not have the qualities to be Prime Minister: “I feel sorry for her. I feel ashamed for Mr. Borisov,” he said, referring to the leader of GERB-UDF.

“Because all these days he did not appear for a single day to negotiate with us. He used four women, hiding behind them,” Petkov said, referring to the negotiating team headed by Gabriel.

“He [Borissov] didn’t even have the courage to stand up at the table and say: ‘I cannot accept or I can accept the next cabinet’. Mr. Borisov chose perhaps his fears, perhaps his addictions, perhaps his friendship with Mr. Peevski,” Petkov said.

DB co-leader Atanas Atanassov urged Radev not to participate in a potential violation of the constitution: “Half of the people who have been nominated as ministerial candidates have not given their consent to this. There is a risk that you are participating in a violation of the constitution. We urge you to withdraw the decree”.

Atanasov also called on the Speaker of the National Assembly, even if the President did not withdraw his decree, the item should not be included in the Order Paper of Parliament.

WCC co-leader Assen Vassilev, named in the GERB-UDF list as nominated to retain his post as Finance Minister, said: “Gabriel is no longer part of the solution, but part of the problem. Perhaps the newest and most beautiful face of the mafia in Bulgaria”.

On March 19, Movement for Rights and Freedoms co-leader Delyan Peevski – subject to US and UK sanctions, and whose party has been part of the “assemblage” informal governing coalition in the past nine months, expressed support for the government proposed by GERB-UDF.

In Bulgaria’s 240-seat Parliament, GERB-UDF and the MRF have 105 seats, short of the 121 needed to vote a government into office. Parliament’s three smallest parties have repeated that they want early elections, not a government being voted into office.

(Main photo: Screenshot of Petkov, Denkov and Vassilev)

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