Bulgarian PM Borissov offers Slavi Trifonov support to form government

Bulgarian PM Borissov offers Slavi Trifonov support to form government
Showman-turned-politican Trifonov has so far given no hint as to his plans after Sunday’s election.
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia April 7, 2021

Bulgaria’s outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has called on the runner up in the April 4 general election – popular showman Slavi Trifonov’s There Are Such People – to form a government, offering him the support of 10 MPs from his Gerb party.

Gerb will be the largest party in the new parliament, having won 26.18% of the vote on April 4, but will find it almost impossible to form a government. The mandate to form a government would therefore pass to Trifonov, but the performer-turned-politician has given little hint as to his future plans. 

He has not made any public statements and although he issued a short comment after Borissov’s latest statement, this failed to give a clearer picture. “Regarding various political statements and proposals made in the past days, I want to say this: there is a very clear legal procedure, defined by the constitution, and we very logically respect and follow it,” Trifonov wrote on Facebook on April 7.

Immediately after the election, Trifonov announced, also on Facebook, that he has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and has self-isolated. However, many people in Bulgaria have criticised his decision to remain silent, accusing him of hiding.

The new parliament will be highly fragmented, making it difficult for any of the parties to form a government. Gerb could only form a government with a broad coalition, but all the parties in the next parliament, except the ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), have said they will not participate in a Gerb-led government or in any coalition with the party that has been in power for a decade.

Trifonov's There Are Such People is the surprising winner of the second-largest share of the vote, gaining 17.66%, followed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 15.01%. This is the first time in 20 years that the BSP has been pushed into third place. The BSP says it has proposed to support a government formed by There Are Such People.

The DPS is fourth with 10.49%, followed by the reformist centre-right Democratic Bulgaria with 9.45%. Stand up! Thugs out! will be the sixth party to enter the parliament with 4.72%.

At the opening of the government’s regular session on April 7, Borissov said his party will propose a government, but indicated he expects to fail, and urged Trifonov to take responsibility for the country from now on. 

He had harsh criticism for the other parties in the new parliament, calling them “irresponsible” for saying new elections are an option, and saying that most likely they aim to “throw the country into chaos”.

“Their game most likely will be to provoke even more chaos. We have carried the responsibility until the election, from now on the colleague politician Slavi Trifonov has to come out and take on the responsibility. Therefore, I am collegially asking him to start drafting their government, who will be parliament speaker, heads of commissions, ministers, deputies,” Borissov said in a rather angry tone.

“May they not desert, nor make the excuse they do not have enough votes. Even more, if they need it … I am ready to put ten MPs on duty who to support them,” Borissov said.

The outgoing prime minister accused the other political parties of being scared and of criticising his government without knowing how hard it is to rule the country.

“If they do not do this [form a government] this will show they want to throw the country into chaos. And this, my colleagues [and] opponents, will hit you at the election,” Borissov said. A video of his statement was released by Mediapool news outlet.

Hristo Ivanov, co-leader of Democratic Bulgaria, said his party will not participate in any government that includes Gerb, the BSP or the DPS. However, Ivanov also said that should Trifonov proposes a government without these parties, Democratic Bulgaria would very carefully consider it.

According to Ivanov, the most likely scenario remains a new early election, prepared without the participation of Gerb.

Boriana Dimitrova, sociologist from Alpha Research, forecast that no political party would agree on the scenario proposed by Borissov and that most likely the next government will be interim and will rule the country until new early elections.

Lubomir Alamanov, prominent PR expert and political commentator, described Borissov as a "classical bully in a nutshell”. “It is expected from him to apologise, to give an answer why it has come to that, to explain his actions, to take responsibility to realise the damage he has caused, to understand he is no longer desired… Instead, the classical bully enthusiastically builds a common bright future, proposes plan after plan and option after option, all of these revolving around him and impossible without him,” Alamanov wrote on Facebook after Borissov’s proposal.