Bulgaria's Junior Govt Ally May Fall Apart

Politics » DOMESTIC | November 7, 2016, Monday // 12:34
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Junior Govt Ally May Fall Apart Tsetska Tsacheva, GERB party's presidential nominee, with Reformist Bloc leaders on November 07, 2016. She will now be backed for the runoff by all Reformist Boc parties but one.

The Reformist Bloc (RB) coalition will back the main ruling party's nominee in the runoff of presidential elections in Bulgaria, RB co-chair Bozhidar Lukarski has said.

His move may open a rift may open in the junior partner of Bulgaria's minority coalition government as one of the parties in the alliance mulls leaving.

The RB, a loose alliance of centrist and right-wing parties, convened late on Monday morning for a meeting to discuss the low performance of its candidate, Traycho Traykov, who gained the fifth (or sixth) best result according to different estimates, with the official count due to be confirmed.

The Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), however, was not represented at the meeting as its leader Radan Kanev did not attend, daily 24 Chasa reports.

The RB leaders were surprisingly joined by Tsetska Tsacheva, the candidate of the main ruling party GERB who came second in the election's first round. 24 Chasa says she was accompanied by seven ministers and the government's public relations expert, Sevdelina Ardaudova.

It quotes Kormal Ismailov, the head of one of the five major parties in the bloc, as saying DSB was likely to leave.

Kanev himself told bTV earlier on Monday that a RB endorsement for Tsacheva would prompt him to quit the bloc.

Radan Kanev's party last December declared it did not support the government and slid into opposition, without leaving the bloc. Health Minister Petar Moskov, however, stayed in the government despite being a DSB minister.

After the election Bozhidar Lukarski, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) party which is one of the "heavyweights" in the RB, said the bloc would endorse Tsacheva. Tsacheva will not face socialist-backed Rumen Radev in the runoff on November 13.

Kanev, however, refused to back Tsacheva outright.

His decision drew outrage from fellow party leaders within the bloc, who insisted the division between RB members was bringing about political disadvantage.

Tensions grew further among RB allies as Traykov firmly declined to call on his supporters to back Tsacheva in the runoff. Traykov made it hear Tsacheva would have to make her case for pursuing judicial reform and reasserting her vision of Bulgaria's EU and NATO membership if she is to get his endorsement.

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Tags: Reformist Bloc, Presidential elections, DSB, Radan Kanev, bozhidar lukarski, Tsetska Tsacheva, Traycho Traykov, Rumen Radev
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