WCC-DB co-leader Petkov: There will be no talks with Vuzrazhdane on a government

We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Kiril Petkov hastened on July 6 to say that the coalition would not hold talks with Vuzrazhdane on the formation of a government, after earlier in the day being interpreted as saying that such talks were possible, but only if certain conditions were met.

This week, the first bid to get a government elected was defeated in Parliament, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, as the second-largest parliamentary group, is to be offered the next mandate to seek to form a government. However, MRF parliamentary leader Delyan Peevski has said that it will refuse the mandate.

That would take matters to the third and final mandate stage. The constitution grants the head of state a free hand in deciding to which group to offer the third mandate.

President Roumen Radev’s options among the remaining parliamentary groups are WCC-DB – which has vowed to remain in opposition even if a government is elected – Vuzrazhdane, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and ITN. The option of Velichie does not exist after that party’s parliamentary group disintegrated.

Vuzrazhdane and ITN have directly expressed interest in receiving the third mandate, while the BSP stance has been contradictory.

On July 4, Vuzrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov said that irrespective of which parliamentary group is handed the third mandate, “the key is in the hands of WCC-DB”.

Kostadinov, who has spoken of an “anti-GERB and MRF coalition” said that Vuzrazhdane, WCC-DB, ITN, BSP and Velichie all had been adamant during the election campaign that GERB-UDF and the MRF should not be allowed back into power.

He said that if WCC-DB refused to be involved in this envisaged coalition, a government would have to be formed with either GERB-UDF or the MRF.

On July 6, Vuzrazhdane MP Tsoncho Ganev said in an interview with Bulgarian National Television that there had been “informal talks” with WCC-DB.

On Facebook, Petkov said that in the 50th National Assembly, there were two potential majorities, one GERB-UDF-MRF and the other, Vuzrazhdane, the BSP, ITN and Velichie.

“Let it be clear, WCC-DB cannot be part of these two majorities, because we are an anti-corruption and pro-European coalition. Our voters can be absolutely calm about that,” Petkov said.

“Yesterday I clearly said that in this Parliament, all the parties that say they are anti-corruption in words, let them first show it in deeds by supporting the law on the judiciary, the law on personal bankruptcy and the law on the protection of corruption signals, which we will introduce.

“In this way, we will not have lost time and we will have continued the reforms in Bulgaria, even when a government is not possible in this Parliament,” he said.

In the earlier television interview, Petkov had noted that Kostadinov had used abusive language about WCC-DB’s electorate and should apologise and should “prove that he is not a pro-Russian project”. The perception that Petkov was opening the door to talks between his pro-Western coalition and pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane by setting these “conditions” raised eyebrows, which apparently led to his subsequent Facebook post to clarify the matter.

Petkov said that he would immediately go to talks with all parliamentary groups, including Vuzrazhdane, if those talks were to be about the law on the judiciary and the law on personal bankruptcy.

On Facebook on July 6, former WCC-DB MP Ivailo Mirchev said that there could be no talks with Vuzrazhdane about a government “and that is clear”.

“The important question is another – what are we doing with the country. New elections? Then some more, and then some more – the next ones? The world record for the most early parliamentary elections held is for Bulgaria. A hundred million leva for each election,” Mirchev said.

“And all this for Peevski to get rid of Magnitsky and control all the power in the state, and his hostage not to enter the [Magnitsky Act sanctions] list, while fulfilling his every wish – from changes of district governors, through regulators and changes in laws,” he said, the “hostage” being a reference to GERB-UDF leader Boiko Borissov.

“There will be no political force that will get 121+ MPs. At least not soon,” Mirchev said, referring to the threshold to get a government elected if all 240 MPs are present in the House.

“This means only one thing – to find a way to implement the reforms that are important for Bulgaria: fighting against corruption, completing the judicial reform, selecting professionals in the regulators in a transparent way instead of party quotas, reform of the [security] services, rapid entry into Schengen and the euro area,” Mirchev said.

He said that in order to propose a specific formula to the Bulgarians, “it is not enough to shout loudly that we are in opposition and it is impossible to announce that we will not work with any party based on our priorities, waiting to ‘bravely’ bring the cherished 121 into Parliament”.

“To succeed, however, we need to start by having an honest conversation with people – what happened in the last election, why we got to this point and what we are changing to continue. But let’s continue, looking people in the eye and offering them clear solutions, not the simple “we’ll just be opposition”, Mirchev said.

Also on Facebook, WCC-DB MEP Radan Kanev said that it was important that WCC-DB should have a common political decision-making mechanism and a common communication policy.

“To prevent such situations, where unintentional statements create a real risk of losing political support,” Kanev said.

(Archive photo: government.bg)

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