Initial talks on a new Bulgarian government: Two days, two meetings, four no-shows

Negotiators from Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF ended an initial two days of consultations on a government on June 18 with no declared clarity whether the 50th National Assembly will elect a cabinet.

GERB-UDF is the new National Assembly’s largest parliamentary group and as such entitled by the constitution to be the first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government.

It invited all six remaining parliamentary groups for talks on June 17 and 18 with the GERB-UDF negotiating team – Denitsa Sacheva, Temenuzka Petkova and Raya Nazaryan – but only two attended, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and ITN.

The rest – We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, Vuzrazhdane, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Velichie – declined the invitation for various reasons.

The results of the June 9 early parliamentary elections have resulted in speculation, including by GERB-UDF’s rivals, that a government will be elected with the votes of GERB-UDF, the MRF and ITN, which together have 131 MPs, over the threshold to vote a government into office.

Borissov told reporters last week that GERB-UDF wanted an “expert” government, with key posts, including that of Prime Minister, held by his coalition.

Talks with the MRF ended on June 17 ended with Sacheva saying that GERB-UDF and the MRF had found convergence on key policy issues.

On June 18, after meeting the ITN representatives, Sacheva said that the only certain thing was that GERB-UDF wanted to form a government.

She said that neither the MRF nor ITN had taken a clear stance in support of a government.

ITN’s Toshko Yordanov said after the talks that it was most correct to have an expert government “but there is still a long way to go from idea to implementation”.

Bulgaria’s 50th National Assembly is to hold its first sitting on June 19 and is scheduled to elect a Speaker.

Sacheva, who on Monday said that the next Speaker and Prime Minister would both be from GERB-UDF, said on Tuesday that GERB would announce its candidate Speaker before the start of Wednesday’s sitting.

Observers noted that should a Speaker nominated by GERB-UDF be elected with the votes of GERB-UDF, the MRF and ITN, that may be a sign that further collusion between the three groups will follow, in electing a Prime Minister and a government.


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