New Kids on the Block
No sooner had Bulgarians said goodbye to the old bunch of rogues in parliament and government that they started saying hello to a bunch of new faces. Saying goodbye to the Socialist-led majority was a matter of one day of ceremonies. Saying hello to the centre-right-led new majority could well take the whole summer.
Bulgaria's 41 st National Assembly started its work on Tuesday with a record-high number of debutantes - more than two-thirds of its members took up the parliamentary seats for the first time. The biggest part of them are naturally members of the election winner, the party of Sofia mayor and prime minister-to-be Boyko Borisov, who made it to parliament thanks to his remarkable publicity machine.
And what a remarkable thing to behold this publicity machine has been! Borisov is the complete and utter rockstar in the country and people have been flocking to be part of his fan club, finding his bossy streak more endearing than offputting. The big question now is will a little of his charm and know-how rub off on what so far have appeared to be dull-as-ditchwater MPs from his party?
One thing is clear - the vision and clout of the debutantes will expand if they collude with like-minded people from the right-wing. The most useful in this respect will be the die-hard rightists from Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, all five of whom have rich parliamentary experience in their record.
Borisov, however, with as many as 116 MPs under his control and a raging ego to satisfy has many other back-up options. Even if he fails to secure the support of the smaller parties, he is in the perfect position to attract members from other parliamentary groups and glue them to his own, achieving thus outright majority. The potential mavericks are believed to be in the conservative party of Yane Yanev, the nationalists from Ataka and the Blue coalition itself.
As in parliament, so in government.
The presence of members of the right-wing Blue coalition will certainly bring more stability and expertise to the new government, even though Borisov has made it clear that his raging ego may stand in the way. He is expected to have his say on Wednesday, a day after the new parliament is convened, with all the information about the ongoing coalition talks made available by his aides.
Borisov himself did not take part in the negotiations, one of many cunning maneuvers in his strategy so far. He has put his potential coalition allies into a zeitnot by refusing to personally participate in the coalition talks, by issuing an ultimatum after ultimatum and by picking experts for his government that did not compete in the general election race. Should they fail as ministers, there will be no need for the party to burnish its reputation in parliament.
Now it remains for him to channel the glitterati-fueled wave of attention into something productive. And put those people that have been lining up to work with direct marching orders.