Bulgaria Nationalists to Back New Govt, But Under Conditions

Domestic | December 16, 2016, Friday // 10:17|  views

Valeri Simeonov, co-chair of the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) coalition. File photo, BGNES

Patriotic Front (PF) coalition co-head Valeri Simeonov has set three conditions to support a new Bulgarian government formed under the current legislature.

His words come as the Reformist Bloc (RB), a loose alliance of centrist and right-wing parties, has engaged in a last-ditch effort to draw up a new cabinet, with a failure leading to an early election in the spring. It needs support from conservative GERB party, the senior coalition partner in the outgoing administration, but also from the nationalist PF, as the cabinet in resignation hinged on nationalists' parliamentary backing to secure a stable majority.

In an interview with NOVA TV broadcaster, Simeonov has cited the need to boost minimum retirement pensions, to pursue a "radical" policy on migrant accommodation centers and to put all deals done in the energy sector so far under scrutiny as prerequisites if a new cabinet is to be formed.

"We want to see migrant accommodation centers moved out of populated areas," he has said, adding they should operate under a restricted movement regime.

On energy, it is important to review contracts signed with AES and CountourGlobal on two power plants - an issue nationalists have been claiming is detrimental to the state coffers but which the outgoing government has deemed solved, through a deal it signed with the two entities last year.

Simeonov has ruled out backing either the anti-corruption bill, to which one of the RB's biggest parties has tied its support for a new government, or a switch to a first-past-the-post system backed by Boyko Borisov, the outgoing Prime Minister. In Simeonov's words, a majority system would send organized crime members, folk singers, football players and "all kinds of scum."

"What kind of decisions will this Parliament take then?" he has asked rhetorically.

Earlier, Borisov admitted he may seek a new government alongside the RB, with both political forces now agreeing on the need to change the electoral system in accordance with the results of a recent referendum.

However, Borisov's GERB staunchly opposes a move to increase retirement pensions as the PF has been demanding.

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Tags: Valeri Simeonov, Boyko Borisov, political crisis


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