Bulgaria: the political crisis is entering its third phase

Bulgaria: the political crisis is entering its third phase

Bulgarians are on course for another snap election — their third since April 2021. No ballot has so far resulted in the formation of a viable government amid a rampant political crisis with no prospect of an end, EURACTIV reports. Bulgaria.

Separately, on Wednesday (July 27), the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) announced that it had failed to form a government following the resignation of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov in June. This results in the dissolution of parliament and a new snap election, likely scheduled for October 2.

All possibilities have been exhausted before, in accordance with the Constitution. The BSP’s attempt was the third — and last — attempt to form a government under the mandate of this parliament, formed after the November 2021 elections.

To be able to form a viable government, Bulgaria needs a stable majority of more than 121 deputies in the National Assembly, which has 240 members. The coalition majorities that followed the snap elections of July 2021 and November 2021 quickly crumbled, as did those that followed the regular elections of April 2021.

BSP leader Kornelia Ninova has made great efforts to use the third term to form a government. However, Slavi Trifonov, leader of the anti-system party “There is such a people”, asked his deputies not to participate in the negotiations, which again ended in failure.

A systemic obstacle

Mr Trifonov’s party, compared by many to the “5-star movement” in Italy, was also an obstacle to forming a government after the previous elections in April and July 2021.

Mr. Trifonov, a former television presenter, jumped at the opportunity caused by the disclosure of a recording to frustrate the discussions on the recomposition of the coalition. He considered that the comments of the leader of the “Democratic Bulgaria” parliamentary group, Hristo Ivanov, were a sign of disrespect for the relations between the coalition partners and caused the negotiations to fail.

The current coalition, formed after the November 2021 elections, is made up of outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s party, “We continue the change”, Mr. Trifonov’s party, “There is such a people”, BSP and “Democratic Bulgaria”.

Mr. Petkov had to resign in June, however, partly because of accusations from Mr. Trifonov’s party.

New prospects for forming a government in Bulgaria

The chances of forming a new government are increasing after the Bulgarian President gave a mandate to form a government to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which managed to bring the populist “There is such a people” party back to the negotiating table.

The main opposition force is Boyko Borissov’s controversial GERB party, which has come under heavy criticism following corruption allegations over the past 12 years in power.

Mr. Borissov did not have to answer for the scandals that occurred during his mandate because of the help of the general prosecutor, one of his political friends.

Mr Trifonov’s decision to prevent Bulgaria from forming a government is heading the country towards an escalating political crisis, from which critics say it has little to gain. Indeed, opinion polls indicate that Mr. Trifonov’s party has no chance of being part of the next parliament.

Political procedure is for President Rumen Radev to appoint his third caretaker government in the past 15 months early next week.

In the interval of the snap elections in Bulgaria, the country is ruled by an interim government appointed by the president, without any parliamentary control.

What’s the next step ?

Mr. Borissov’s GERB and Mr. Petkov’s “We continue the change” parties enjoy equal support according to opinion polls. The GERB relies on its strong network across the country and its roots in local authorities, while Mr Petkov’s party is founded on anti-mafia rhetoric and social action programmes.

However, Mr. Petkov’s party does not yet have all the official structures in place; the party has not yet been officially approved by the court.

The BSP has seen a slight increase in its support over the past two months, reaching around 11%, the same percentage as the electorate of the “Movement of Rights and Freedoms” (DPS), composed mainly of people from the community. Turkish. They are closely followed by the pro-Russian “Renaissance” party and the reformist and pro-Western “Democratic Bulgaria” party, whose support is between 8 and 10%.

A new force with a chance of entering parliament is a pro-Russian force led by Stefan Yanev, a former caretaker prime minister appointed by Mr Radev.

Analysts, however, believe that the task of forming a government will not be easier after this next election.

The country finds itself in a difficult situation, with Russia having cut its gas supplies, while the director of the energy regulator was ousted due to procedural irregularities in his appointment.

Demonstrations were underway on Wednesday (July 27) in Sofia and other towns, believed to be organized by road construction companies close to Mr Borissov.


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