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46 days to go until the snap parliamentary election on 2 October:

Six players certain to enter the next parliament of Bulgaria

The big question is: Will there be another early election in February?

Photo: BGNES

Twenty-four parties and seven coalitions will take part in the early election for parliament due on 2 October. Though the registration deadline expired yesterday, they will have until 27 August to make changes, and that is particularly important to two parties – We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria who have not yet announced their final decision whether they are going to run together, as a coalition.

The early parliamentary election is not going to bring about any tangible reshuffle of the political forces in voter preferences, with one exception – there is every chance that the party There Is Such a Perople, which was part of the previous ruling coalition for a time, will fail to clear the electoral threshold. Sociologists say that GERB is ahead of We Continue the Change by several percentage points, but that does not automatically mean it will be able to find coalition partners for forming a cabinet. As with the three elections for parliament in 2021, the biggest question remains – will there be a political force, capable of garnering a minimum of 121 votes in parliament, together with its allies, so as to guarantee stability of the government and the decision-making process.

It now looks like We Continue the Change, which formed the last regular government together with coalition partners, is not going to accept Democratic Bulgaria’s proposal that the two run in the upcoming election together. One of the motives for such a suggestion was to make sure GERB will not come out winner in the election and be the first to be given a mandate to form a cabinet. According to We Continue the Change co-chair Assen Vassilev, it does not make much of a difference whether the two formations will run together or separately, as the result would be the same. Whether together or separately, it looks like a certainty that Democratic Bulgaria is going to be part of a new cabinet formed by We Continue the Change, and that holds good of the Bulgarian Socialist Party as well. “We worked very well with Democratic Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, it is our aim to have a majority in the future parliament in this same format,” said on his part former National Assembly President Nikola Minchev from We Continue the Change. The question where the missing votes for a majority will come from remains unanswered for now, all the more so that GERB leader Boyko Borissov has no intention of withdrawing – something We Continue the Change set down as a sine qua non for there to be any cooperation with his party GERB.

At this point, GERB’s return to power seems to be dependent on the withdrawal of its leader Boyko Borissov. Former PM Kiril Petkov was the first to formulate it: “We are not going to form any coalition with GERB as long as Boyko Borissov is at the head of it.” GERB’s leader retorted, saying that the same was true of We Continue the Change as long as Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev were at its head.

“The leaders of We Continue the Change owe the public a clarification on one important point, because a withdrawal by Boyko Borissov alone is not enough if the party’s toxic leadership, which supported his decisions, remains in place,” political analyst Ivo Indzhov says. “There has to be a change at a leadership level, only then, theoretically, can any such coalition be discussed at all. Bulgaria needs a new beginning, and that cannot be done with old