Bulgaria's PM Makes U-Turn on New Govt over 'Referendum Results'
Forming a new Bulgarian government within the current Parliament should not be deemed impossible anymore, main ruling GERB party leader and outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said.
Speaking after a European Council session in Brussels, he has cited the results of a referendum showing Bulgarian voters' preference for a first-past-the-post electoral system (over the currently enforced proportional representation) and the complext political situation in the region.
Borisov, who by now has only shown skepticism about the Reformist Bloc's effort to forge another cabinet after his resignation, has told reporters it is "worth scaling forward the [resignation] time just so little as to accept [a] new election law in accordance with the [results of the] referendum."
Otherwise the forthcoming early election, which may take place in the spring, will "not be legitimate", he has explained in a press briefing aired live by BNT, the public broadcaster.
In the referendum, which Borisov's GERB party had refrained from backing, more than 2.5 million people voted for a change to the electoral system, making elections and referenda compulsory and a drastic cut in the size of state subsidies allocated per vote to political parties that received more than 1% of the ballots in parliamentary elections. His party embraced the idea of changing the system in accordance with "the people's will", but did not submit any draft legislation in response to the non-binding referendum.
Borisov, on the other hand, resigned after Rumen Radev, a socialist-backed candidate, defeated the one nominated by his conservative party in the presidential elections. He and the socialists subsequently refused to use a mandate handed by President Rosen Plevneliev and form a government.
GERB's junior ally in the outgoing government, the Reformist Bloc (RB) coalition, is now holding the mandate and has expressed willingness to form another cabinet, with a Prime Minister from GERB. The latter party on Thursday described the chance to form such a government as very slim.
Borisov, however, has now tied support for any future government to potential coalition partners' support for the adoption of a majority voting system.
If the RB fails to form a government, Bulgaria will hold an early general election after Radev takes over as President.
A meeting between GERB and the RB is due on Monday morning.
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