Bulgarian Politics at a Crossroads: Government Rotation or Snap Elections Looming?

Politics | February 29, 2024, Thursday // 16:00|  views

The political climate in Bulgaria remains fraught with tension as discussions surrounding the potential rotation within the government and the future trajectory of the coalition between GERB and "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria" (WCC-DB) continue to unfold.

GERB's leader, Boyko Borissov, unveiled a detailed timeline for the presentation of the coalition agreement, indicating plans to introduce it to the party on the 5th and subsequently share it with WCC-DB colleagues on the 6th. A congress scheduled for the 8th will serve as the platform for further deliberations. Borissov underscored that failure to reach a consensus by the 8th would prompt the resignation of the cabinet, potentially paving the way for new elections.

"On the 5th (of March) I will present the coalition agreement to the party, on the 6th I will give it to colleagues from WCC-DB to read, then we have a congress in Bucharest on the 8th. By then, Denkov and Gabriel will have completed the evaluations of the ministers and if they want to talk about coalition government, for the whole term on all the subjects, there will be time to make notes or redo it, comment, etc. I will leave a negotiating group here and on the 8th, if we have agreed, we will go ahead, if we don't agree, we vote for the resignation of the cabinet and go to elections," he said.

However, Kiril Petkov, co-chair of WCC-DB's parliamentary group, expressed apprehension over the expedited timeframe allotted for the review of such a consequential document. Petkov criticized what he perceived as a deliberate delay in presenting the document, accusing GERB of orchestrating one-man shows aimed at hastening the prospect of fresh elections.

"The only thing I understood today from their briefing is that they will give us their document on the day of the resignation, and until then I understand that the only thing that will happen is that these one-man performances will continue. There is no sense in this. The responsible position is let's sit down and talk. Yes, let them offer their document, but there is no point in giving it on the day of the resignation. To me, there is a clear strategy to delay things until the last minute. But if there is a mistake, if there is no time, the responsibility will be theirs. .. One-man shows are being made to lead to new elections. I heard from the two today (Borissov and Peevski) only elections, elections and we will give you a document on the day of the resignation. There is no logic in this!" he commented.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) urged political leaders to prioritize the formation of a cohesive coalition to avert a potential crisis. DPS emphasized the critical need for stability in the face of ongoing challenges confronting the nation.

"If they are reasonable people, politicians - serious, they will not throw the country into a crisis. They will form a clear coalition so that there is nothing hidden and dark. After we see what they will do, we will evaluate who and how we will support them. There should be a government, for DPS is important to have a government. Elections are always an option, for DPS it is a great option, two in one, we are ready for elections, but it is not good for the country, we have to think about the people - what happens to them in these earthquakes, this is not good for the state," said the co-chairman of DPS Delyan Peevski.

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov emphasized the continued importance of combatting corruption as a paramount objective for the coalition. Denkov stressed the necessity of securing written assurances within the coalition agreement to address systemic issues within the state.

"What is important in the end is to have a positive result. For me, this means continuing the commitments we have made to the Bulgarian citizens. This goes through the fight against corruption and through the appointment of honest, moral and honorable people in the regulators, from which it depends on how business will develop and how we will live here. Until we understand this, the question of who will be the minister, even who will be the prime minister, is secondary. That is why it is very important to understand this part of the reforms as well - how are we going to finish them before we talk about names".

Denkov added that he has not yet seen the text of the coalition agreement proposed by GERB.

"Until I see the written text from GERB, I cannot comment. If it contains guarantees that this will happen, we will continue. But if it turns out that we are trying to push aside the fight against corruption again, which happened in the past, and I would say that it is also happening now - the justice system is not working well, the Commission for the Protection of Competition, there are problems in the prosecutor's office... until we solve these problems, we cannot move forward as if everything is fine. We do not want elections, but we will not agree to be a front for someone to deviate from what we consider to be a priority in the country. Regulators should be an essential part of this agreement - what will be the procedures for filling regulators," said the Prime Minister.

Academician Denkov specified that he will resign on March 6 in accordance with the rotation agreement, but the government will in practice continue to work until the decision of the National Assembly on the submitted resignation.

Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel echoed Denkov's sentiments, reiterating her reluctance to endorse the WCC-DB memorandum. Gabriel emphasized the imperative of establishing a transparent decision-making mechanism within the coalition agreement. She underscored the need for shared accountability in tackling key national issues.

There is no way we talked about signing a document that we ourselves have not yet discussed in the party. We have a very clear position, and I have already shared it, that I will not sign the so-called memorandum. Therefore, we will work to have a mechanism that shares responsibility and that really brings transparency, clearly defines the priorities of the country, but also defines the responsibilities for the fact that we want to provide this country with both transparency and the fight against corruption. and independence of the judicial system, and to do so with a very clear decision-making mechanism. This is what's coming," Gabriel stated.

"We want to ensure transparency and respect the Constitution. The limit of the Constitution, democracy, the rule of law and good European practices. We believe in the dialogue and in the fact that our country needs stability and in the fact that Bulgaria has done a lot of good work in the last 8 months". This was stated by Mariya Gabriel to journalists. Regarding her assessment of Minister Tagarev, the Deputy Prime Minister commented as follows:

"I will remain true to myself, I have not allowed myself to give an assessment to any minister, I will give it to Denkov first," said Gabriel."On the 6th and 7th we are at the EPP congress, it is more than important to be there. The key word is trust, to speak with one voice," emphasized Mariya Gabriel.

In summary, tensions persist as Bulgarian political leaders grapple with the complexities of navigating discussions on the coalition's future while striving to prioritize the nation's most pressing concerns.

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Tags: Bulgaria, coalition, negotiations, political


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