Can a Snap Vote Plunge Bulgaria into Political Turmoil?

Politics » DOMESTIC | November 8, 2016, Tuesday // 12:49
Bulgaria: Can a Snap Vote Plunge Bulgaria into Political Turmoil? The Bulgarian Presidency headquarters in downtown Sofia. File photo, BGNES

Early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria may bring some trouble as the President's term expires in less than three months.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has made it clear he will step down if his candidate, Tsetska Tsacheva loses the presidential election's runoff this Sunday.

As some polls have foreseen a victory for opposition-backed candidate Rumen Radev, Borisov has warned of political instability that may follow his resignation that will likely trigger an early parliamentary election if other parties fail to form a new cabinet - or if they decide against forming it and prefer to seek more voter support at the polls.

In that case, a snap poll may be months away, and before these take place, Bulgaria may have had to interim governments.

The Constitution's Article 99 (7) reads that, in cases of a government collapse and failure to compose a new government, "the President may not dissolve the National Assembly [Parliament] during a period of three months preceding the expiry of his term of office."

Plevneliev is to leave the Presidency on January 22.

It will take a Constitutional court ruling to decide whether an interim government can be appointed, experts say.

Most of the uncertainty is caused by vague wording in the Constitution, which is vague on the outgoing presidents' competence to call early votes and appoint caretaker administration.

While Plevneliev will be able to set up an interim government in the event of Borisov's resignation and failure to agree on a new cabinet, the provisional administration will have to "coexist" with an elected Parliament and therefore be subject to Q&A from lawmakers.

The latter, however, cannot table no-confidence motions as the government is not elected.

Elections, on the other hand, cannot be called  if Parliament is not dissolved - which cannot happen before Plevneliev leaves office on January 22.

Legal uncertainty also looms over whether a new president assuming office while an interim government is in force can have any authority over this government.

Caretaker governments have not been rare during Plevneliev's term: he appointed one in March 2013, after Borisov's first government resigned, and another in August 2014, after the next elected cabinet, that of Plamen Oresharski, collapsed amid lack of support from the junior coalition partner.

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Tags: Presidential elections, Tsetska Tsacheva, Rumen Radev, Rosen Plevneliev
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