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Are high hopes focused on third government-forming mandate justified?

By Monday Bulgaria's president must chose the political force to propose cabinet

Hristo Ivanov
Photo: BGNES

The insurmountable conditions that the political forces set in an attempt to achieve a parliamentary majority, make the chances for "Democratic Bulgaria" forming a cabinet seem distant. The coalition is expected to receive the third exploratory mandate to form a regular government within the 48th National Assembly. However, there is no clear answer to the question about President Rumen Radev’s choice, in contrast to the question whether the current National Assembly has the actual resources to form a reformist core.

The background:

Co-chairman of "Democratic Bulgaria" Hristo Ivanov described the coalition's chance to form a cabinet supported by GERB and "We Continue the Change" as "hypothetical” after none of the three forces backed down from their positions. A few days ago Ivanov talked about a government with the mandate of DB, if GERB and "We Continue the Change" reached an agreement and even proposed a "technocratic cabinet with five major tasks". GERB leader Boyko Borissov promised support for a government with Prime Minister Hristo Ivanov, but denied the possibility of reaching an agreement with "We Continue the Change", hinting at government backed by the votes of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Kiril Petkov, co-chairman of "We Continue the Change", said that there could be no agreement with GERB over the third mandate.

What’s next?

Sociologist Andrey Raichev says the possibility for forming a regular government is about 10-20%. According to him, it is in the hands of Hristo Ivanov to bring the GERB party out of isolation and to legitimize Boyko Borissov, therefore the GERB leader strives for an alliance with "Democratic Bulgaria" in some form. "Borissov aims to to remove the connection between DB and We Continue the Change - this is what he needs," the political scientist says. However, the local elections in the autumn are an important circumstance that should be kept in mind.

Andrey Raichev

"The elections in Sofia are Armageddon for Democratic Bulgaria,” Andrey Raichev says. “The coalition cannot win a majority in parliament, but the elections in the capital city are a real chance for success. The rightists can take back the power in Sofia after 18 years, but there is one condition for this - an alliance with We Continue the Change. That means crystal clear relations between the two parties are needed," Andrey Raichev says.

According to sociologist Boryana Dimitrova the current level of confrontation reduces the chance of forming a government to minimum.

Boryana Dimitrova

"Even before the first mandate was handed out, all the comments were focused on the third one,” Boryana Dimitrova recalls. “It seemed the first and second mandates were doomed to fail. In a situation of such unprecedented crises, staying without a regular government for six months already shows a rather serious crisis in the Bulgarian political system. On the other hand, I have not see anything in the behavior of the political figures that hints a cabinet could be formed.”

According to political scientist Ivo Indzhov, a government can most easily be formed with the mandate of "Democratic Bulgaria" and behind-the-scenes cooperation between GERB, DPS, BSP and "Bulgarian Rise".

Ivo Indzhov

"The price will be a new fierce political confrontation and a split in the liberal-democratic community,” Ivo Indzhov points out. “But we must also analyze the upcoming local elections, as they are inevitable. I expect a radical change in the political map after the local vote - loss of GERB in Sofia and other big cities, which will fundamentally reconfigure the balance of power in national politics, as well. In order for this scenario to happen, there must be cooperation between the parties of reform and active civil structures and individuals, ready to work for the interests of the respective municipality, for the elimination of clientelistic schemes and for the interest of all citizens."

The possible outcome:

While political scientists, sociologists and journalists are discussing the upcoming move of the head of state, the name of the current deputy prime minister for management of European funds, Atanas Pekanov, started circulating in the public space as the possible next caretaker prime minister.

Text: Diana Tsankova (based on interviews by Diana Doncheva, Ludmila Zhelezova of BNR-Horizont and Elena Krushkova of BNR-Plovdiv)

English: Al. Markov

Photos: BGNES, Ani Petrova

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