We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria in new proposal to GERB-UDF on government

The We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition has made a new offer to Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition on a proposed government.

The proposal was presented during an ill-tempered, hour-long debate at a special sitting of Parliament on March 26 to vote that the first mandate to seek to form a government, handed to GERB-UDF’s Maria Gabriel, had failed.

The decision was approved, in the 240-seat House, with 226 votes in favour, none against and one abstention.

Atanas Atanassov, of WCC-DB – which as the second-largest parliamentary group is entitled by the constitution to receive the second mandate – read out the proposal for a “national and general” government, which included an offer to GERB-UDF for that group to nominate the Prime Minister.

WCC-DB said that the proposal was in compliance with the commitments that WCC-DB and GERB-UDF made to each nine months ago, a reference to the deal that saw Nikolai Denkov take office as Prime Minister on the understanding that in March this year, the post would “rotate” to Gabriel.

The framework of the proposal includes the heads of the two parliamentary groups signing an agreement containing specific guarantees for reforms in the judicial system, regulators and security services with clear dates for implementation.

It includes the nomination by GERB-UDF of a Prime Minister-designate mutually acceptable to the two groups.

The framework includes maintaining the current line-up of the Cabinet, given that no agreement on the matter could be reached at the first-mandate stage.

“To clarify, this is not an invitation to further negotiations beyond the stated framework,” the declaration said.

“This proposal is an expression of our willingness to fulfill the commitments we made publicly nine months ago. We have a constitutional, political and civic duty to propose a realistic formula to prevent another parliamentary crisis, and we are doing so.”

It said that it owed it to Bulgaria to use the last chance conferred by the constitution to make a final attempt “not to throw the country into a crisis and a series of elections”.

If the proposal was refused, WCC-DB would consider its obligation fulfilled and would return the mandate unfulfilled to the head of state.

Ahead of the special sitting, Borissov alleged that there had been pressure from outside regarding the post of Interior Minister.

The post was one of the bones of contention in the negotiations between GERB-UDF and WCC-DB.

Borissov said that there was no option for GERB-UDF to support a government nominated on the basis of a mandate held by WCC-DB.

Delyan Peevski, co-leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms – the party that has been in effect a part of the “assemblage” informal coalition – told reporters in Parliament “It is clear that we are going to elections”.

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