Bulgaria: Peevski says MRF will turn down mandate to seek to form government

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) will refuse a mandate to seek to form a government, MRF parliamentary leader Delyan Peevski said on July 4.

With the first mandate, which was held by Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF, having failed, the next should go to the MRF as Parliament’s second-largest group.

Given that the MRF group split its votes on July 3 on GERB-UDF’s proposed Prime Minister – with 30 voting in favour, 14 against and one abstaining – there was speculation that Peevski would expel from the parliamentary group the 14 that went against his wishes.

That speculation was based on Peevski’s July 3 statement that the 30 “Euro-Atlantic” MPs would remain MPs.

That scenario would reduce the MRF to Parliament’s third-largest group, and its place would be taken by We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, to which President Roumen Radev would be obliged to hand the second mandate.

However, Peevski said on July 4 that he would not expel the 14 and claimed that those MPs who had been expelled from the group had met this fate because local structures had withdrawn their confidence in them.

He called on Radev to not delay in handing over the second mandate so that the process of Bulgaria heading to early parliamentary elections could be completed.

The latest to be expelled from the MRF parliamentary group was Dzheyhan Ibryamov, who abstained in the July 3 vote. Ibryamov said subsequently that he was against the proposed government.

There have been ructions in the MRF group over Peevski, whose wresting for control of the group has been likened by some observers to an attempted corporate takeover. Some in the MRF have spoken of tensions between Peevski – well-known for the sanctions imposed on him by the US and UK for corruption, allegations he denies – and MRF founder and honorary president Ahmed Dogan.

MRF co-leader Dzhevdet Chakurov – who voted against the proposed government on Wednesday – on Thursday broke a long silence to say that there were tensions in the group and that he hoped that it would not split.

Borissov, speaking on July 4, said that his group would not engage in negotiations on the basis of the second and third mandates and believed that early elections were inevitable.

He appeared to try to blame the media for what he said were suggestions that the government would be voted into office by buying MPs from Parliament’s smallest group, Velichie.

On July 4, that strife-torn group – which voted against the proposed government – was the subject of widespread speculation that it was on the verge of splitting, and falling below the minimum threshold of 10 MPs to remain an official parliamentary group.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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