Bulgaria’s Reformist Bloc accepts mandate, but chances of forming new government are low

By bne IntelliNews December 14, 2016

On December 13, outgoing President Rossen Plevneliev gave the last possible mandate to form a new government to the Reformist Bloc, the junior partner in the outgoing ruling coalition, a notice on the president’s website said.

The bloc accepted the mandate and has to muster parliamentary support for a new government by December 19. In the likely case this does not happen, the mandate will be returned and there will be early elections in the spring of 2017.

Earlier in December, Plevneliev gave such mandates to ruling centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) and opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the first and second largest parties in the parliament, but both returned the mandates immediately.

On November 14, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov submitted the resignation of the government to the parliament. The move came after the second round of the presidential election was won by former air force commander General Rumen Radev, who was supported by the BSP. The parliament accepted the cabinet's resignation on November 16.

The Reformist Bloc made the decision to accept the third mandate at the last possible moment. The bloc plans consultations with GERB, the patriotic parties, the Bulgarian Democratic Centre and independent lawmakers, Dnevnik daily reported. The mandate holder says that the new prime minister should come from the biggest party – GERB.

Meanwhile, Borissov, who is also the leader of GERB, told reporters that presently his only concern is the situation in the northeastern village of Hitrino, which was devastated by a freight train explosion on December 10 that took seven lives. Regarding communications with the Reformist Bloc, the outgoing prime minister said, “we will meet, we will talk”.

The leaders of two of the three patriotic parties represented in the parliament have said that they would support a new government conditional on meeting certain demands.

GERB has 84 lawmakers in the 240-seat parliament, and the Reformist Bloc has 22. The Patriotic Front and Ataka (the third patriotic party) have 17 and 11 MPs, respectively. The Bulgarian Democratic Centre has 14 members of parliament. There are also 13 independent lawmakers.

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