Bulgaria’s GERB receives mandate to form government and signs coalition agreement

Bulgaria’s GERB receives mandate to form government and signs coalition agreement
By By Dimitar Koychev April 27, 2017

President Rumen Radev handed a mandate to form a government to former and most likely future Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, leader of centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), a notice on the president’s website said on April 27. Earlier on April 27, GERB signed an agreement with the nationalist United Patriots leaders to form a coalition government.

In the early parliamentary elections held on March 26, GERB won 95 seats in the 240-seat parliament. Its main opponent, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), won 80 seats. The United Patriots came third with 27 MPs, the predominantly ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) won 26 and the centre-right Volya party was last with 12 seats.

Borissov now has seven days to propose candidates for the new cabinet.

Radev said he hoped Borissov and his coalition partners will propose convincing candidates for ministers. “I believe that with your governance programme you will respond to the most vital needs of the Bulgarians – security, incomes, justice, lawfulness. I am sure that the experience from the past will be a good counsellor,” the president added, wishing him success in forming the new government.

Previously, GERB and the United Patriots agreed on a joint programme for ruling the Balkan country until 2021. The coalition agreement signed on April 27 stipulates that the cabinet will have four deputy prime ministers and 17 ministers. One of the deputy prime ministers is expected to be in charge of Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in January-June 2018.

The coalition will make decisions through a six-member political council. GERB and the United Patriots will have three members each in the council, which will make decisions with consensus. The council is expected to meet on a weekly basis.

The United Patriots coalition includes three nationalist parties – the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), VMRO-Bulgarian National Movement and Ataka. Their respective leaders, Valeri Simeonov, Krassimir Karakachanov and Volen Siderov will be members of the ruling coalition’s political council. GERB will be represented by Borissov, GERB deputy chairman Tsvetan Tsvetanov and a third person, who has not been chosen yet.

The coalition agreement stipulates that the ministers and the deputy ministers will be proposed by GERB and the United Patriots in a proportion reflecting their representation in the parliament. Talks on ministerial appointments are yet to be held. The exact distribution of the ministries will be known at the beginning of May, Simeonov said as quoted by Dnevnik daily.

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