Bulgaria just one step away from early general election

Bulgaria just one step away from early general election
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova would need to make compromises if she is to unite enough parties to secure a majority in parliament. / BSP.bg
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 18, 2022

Bulgaria is likely to face new early general election as President Rumen Radev picked the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) for the third and final mandate to form a government on July 18.

The choice was seen as a clear signal that the president does not want to really secure an opportunity for a new government within the current parliament as the pro-Russian BSP has slim chances to unite enough parties to secure a majority in parliament unless it steps back from several key priorities it has, including from its demand that the party’s leader Kornelia Ninova heads a ministry.

Radev said that the party has proved it can support dialogue even when everyone else cannot, which was criticised as a hypocritical statement given the conflict between the president and Ninova. On the other hand, the selection of the BSP was seen as a clear signal of Radev’s pro-Russian policy.

The head of the BSP’s parliamentary group, Georgi Svilenski, said the party will do everything it can to form a government.

Theoretically, the last mandate could be successful if the BSP agrees to accept the reform agenda proposed by Change Continues – the party of outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. However, more compromises would have to be made for this last mandate to succeed.

Petkov’s government was supported by a four-party coalition comprising Change Continues, the BSP, There Are Such People (ITN) and reformist Democratic Bulgaria.

At the beginning of June, ITN pulled out of the coalition, which subsequently led to the loss of a no-confidence vote by the government.

Now ITN is ready to return to its former coalition partners but demands that Petkov and Change Continues’ co-leader, the outgoing Finance Minister Assen Vassilev, do not head the new government. Democratic Bulgaria has proposed a technocratic government without any of the political leaders heading it.

The reformist formation has also suggested that the coalition partners should unite on the reform agenda proposed by Change Continues and lead the country until the local election next autumn or until Bulgaria's accession to the eurozone, which is expected to take place on January 1, 2024.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out by Trend agency showed that in case of a new election Bulgaria will end up with seven parties in parliament, which would make the formation of a government even more difficult.

Trend’s poll showed that Change Continues is restoring its rating but would remain second after former ruling party Gerb. However, neither of these parties would have enough MPs for a stable majority as Gerb would get 23.6% of the vote and Change Continues 21.4%.

The ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) would rank third with 10.7%, followed by the BSP with 9.8%, far-right Vazrazhdane with 9.6%, Democratic Bulgaria with 6.9% and pro-Russian Bulgarian Ascend with 5.7%. ITN would not pass the 4% threshold.