site.btaParliamentary Parties Weigh Cabinet Chances
Parliamentary forces commented the news that President Rumen Radev will present the first government-forming mandate on Monday to the biggest political force in Parliament, GERB-UDF.
GERB deputy leader Tomislav Donchev said that they will surely propose a cabinet lineup and did not rule out the possibility of a minority government.
Asked whether there is a chance for the first exploratory mandate to be successful, Continue the Change (CC) co-leader Kiril Petkov said that there has been good coordination between GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) regarding the Election Code amendments, which bring back the paper ballots in elections. "Therefore, a triple coalition, which we call 'the paper ballot coalition', is quite possible," Petkov said, adding that he does not see any other possible configuration in Parliament at this time.
He expressed his utmost disappointment with the three parties' decision to reinstate paper ballots recently and said that such a triple coalition would be dangerous for Bulgaria.
MRF deputy floor leader Yordan Tsonev said that his party expects serious talks in Parliament, including by the first mandate-holder. "So far, we have not held any discussions on the formation of a government. For MRF, this is the most important and pressing topic, over which Bulgarian voters sent all of us 240 MPs to the legislature," he said.
He expressed expectations that GERB-UDF will approach the matter seriously and start serious discussions on forming a cabinet, "because they have been tasked by the Bulgarian people with this responsibility". "We, the remaining parties, are also tasked [with forming a government], but they're the winners in the elections," Tsonev added.
According to Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov GERB will not be able to secure the majority [in Parliament] to form a government. He noted that his party has vast differences with GERB on crucial issues, related both to domestic and foreign policy, such as the euro changeover, sending military aid to Ukraine, the possibility of importing US-made fuel for the Kozloduy N-plant, and the question of "giving away another BGN 3 billion for eight other American blueprints", referring to the purchase from the US of F-16 fighters for the Bulgarian Airforce - all of which Vazrazhdane opposes. "There's no way we can support them," he said.
Asked whether a government can be formed of GERB, MRF and BSP, Kostadinov said that GERB and MRF are in full sync and "in practice, they're like one party with two leaderships".
BSP leader Korneliya Ninova said that the Socialists will not support a cabinet on GERB-UDF's mandate. "If they table a cabinet lineup, we will vote against it," she said, adding nevertheless, that she is optimistic that a government could be formed within this Parliament.
Democratic Bulgaria (DB) Floor Leader Hristo Ivanov said that there is no point to discuss his party's support for a cabinet, given the Election Code amendments adopted and given that GERB have not yet said anything about two issues that DB consider a priority: the state of the prosecuting magistracy and the rule of law in this country.
As for the possibility of forming a minority government, Ivanov said that it would require efforts for some type of dialogue and finding common points. "Instead, this Election Code was pushed through with an absolutely mindless insistence, which on top of everything, turned out to be a lie," he said. According to Ivanov, this environment is not conducive of even discussing something as fragile as a minority government. He said he has not lost hope yet, but is not overly optimistic either.
Ivanov did not dismiss the possibility of forming a government between GERB-UDF, MRF and BSP on the third mandate, even though GERB are fully aware that voting together with the MRF is the equivalent to "a political liquidation". Since GERB have decided not to support BSP, maybe there will be some type of "an adapter", such as Bulgarian Rise, he said.
Bulgarian Rise leader Stefan Yanev said that he can only wish GERB success on forming a cabinet. "We're ready for dialogue on certain policies, if we are invited," he said.
Asked whether he sees himself as the prime minister on the third mandate, Yanev said that he does not see himself as a prime minister on any mandate. "My childhood dream was not to become a prime minister. I did not get into politics to become a prime minister. I have been on this post [as a caretaker prime minister] and I am aware of the responsibilities and burdens that come with it," he said.
Yanev noted that if a third mandate is presented, it will be an anti-crisis one and the formula will likely be one of the broadest possible consensus. He said that a working formula would require the support of at least 160 MPs.