Victory is Not Enough: "We Continue the Change" will Depend on Complex Negotiations
The youngest political group, "We Continue the Change", won the Bulgarian parliamentary elections (surprisingly against the background of sociologists' forecasts), but it is facing difficult negotiations to form a government in the new 47th National Assembly and the final success of the debutants will depend on them. With their vote, the voters showed that they expect results by redirecting their support from others from the so-called "protest parties" that failed to nominate a cabinet in two parliaments to join the reunification of former caretaker ministers.
A coalition will need at least four partners, with "Democratic Bulgaria", "BSP" and "There Is Such a People" remaining to be discussed after election night. According to the latest data and before the votes from abroad, they have a total of 138 seats (see chart). And decisive for the successful implementation of the first term may be the support of the party of Slavi Trifonov, who significantly announced that he will behave as before.
After the third vote of the year and record low turnout (39.1%), parties in parliament increased to seven. A nationalist formation returned to it - "Vazrazhdane" (which built its campaign on anti-wax messages) and "Stand up. BG! We are coming!"
The investments of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with the participation of the sanctioned under "Magnitsky law" MP Delyan Peevski provided the party with a third position before BSP. The party announced its readiness to talk to everyone about future governance, but so far only the GERB leader had allowed the possibility of negotiations with them before the elections. Boyko Borissov spoke on election night from the position of first in terms of results, although the data already showed otherwise.
If "We Continue the Change" succeeds in fulfilling the governing mandate, the former rulers will remain in opposition. But if it fails, GERB will try to find support for the government at all costs and will almost certainly get it from DPS (they currently have a total of 90 seats). Borissov allowed himself to remain an MP this time.
Kiril Petkov will be the nominee for prime minister, and Asen Vassilev - for finance minister in the negotiations for a future government, the two confirmed to Dnevnik, but specified that this will be a matter of discussion with potential partners.
The presidential election is expected to end with a runoff between Rumen Radev and Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov next Sunday (November 21st). With almost 50% of the first round, the forecasts are for the victory of the current president, but the turnout will be influential (which will be lower) and the mobilization of party voters, who will stand behind the GERB-backed candidate. The official results of the first round must be announced no later than November 16 (Tuesday).
Will there be more surprises in the final data
Data from abroad is expected on Monday, which will probably add votes, and hence mandates, for "We continue the change", "Democratic Bulgaria", "There Is Such a People", DPS, which is the traditional leader in Turkey, but also "Vazrazhdane". ", who in the previous elections had between 6 and 7% of the vote outside.
So who from what positions enters the negotiations will become known in the coming days. Thursday (November 18th) is the deadline for the Central Election Commission to announce the official results of the parliamentary elections.
A simple majority is needed to elect a government, ie. 50% plus one of the participants in the voting. This means that with the participation of all 240 MPs, the required majority is 121 votes, but with fewer people present at the plenary session, the required number of votes decreases.
Without BSP, the so-called the parties of change would have 110 seats, and if the coalition was only between "We Continue the Change", "Democratic Bulgaria" and BSP, the deputies behind it would be 113.
However, in order to be able to implement the changes announced by the election winners, a more stable majority will be needed.
How will the parliament work?
Officially, the names of the elected MPs must be announced by the CEC on November 21, when the runoff takes place. The names of the elected deputies will be published in the State Gazette on November 23 at the latest.
Usually, after the promulgation, Rumen Radev convenes the first session of the new parliament, at which its leadership is elected. The term under the Constitution is up to a month after the elections - ie. by December 14, but the party headquarters expect that the head of state will not delay the convening of deputies, at least because the state budget for next year must be adopted. Unofficially, November 24 and 25 are mentioned as the most probable dates.
It is not yet known who will be the candidate of the first force "We Continue the Change" for chairman of the National Assembly, but a few days ago Kiril Petkov told Dnevnik that they have a suitable nomination, but did not confirm the name of a lawyer from their lists (such as Nikola Minchev, pointed out by him as a very good lawyer).
The first term is for "We Continue the Change"
According to the Constitution, the president, in consultation with parliamentary groups, instructs a candidate for prime minister, nominated by the largest parliamentary group, to form a government. According to the data at midnight, this is "We Continue the Change". From the statements on election night, it became clear that it is unlikely and necessary to have a joint parliamentary group of "We Continue the Change" and "Democratic Bulgaria" - a scenario discussed before the election in the expected victory of GERB.
The leaders of "We Continue the Change" Kiril Petkov and Asen Vassilev said in the election studio of "Dnevnik" that they are ready to start negotiations as soon as there are clear results, but they have not yet talked to the leaders of the potential partners. They confirmed that these are all without GERB and DPS. "Vazrazhdane" was not commented on, as the first data put it on the brink of entry. The party announced on election night that it would support a government that would lift anti-epidemic measures over the coronavirus.
Talks on coalition government with Democratic Bulgaria and partners such as BSP and There Is Such a People are likely to begin as early as Monday.
On election night, too, "Democratic Bulgaria" and "There Is Such a People" excluded GERB and DPS as partners, and BSP announced that they were ready for negotiations if invited.
There is no term in which the head of state must hand over the first term. He can leave time for negotiations. However, after receiving a mandate, the term for its implementation is seven days. If the prime ministerial candidate nominates a government, it must be elected by parliament.
For now, it seems unlikely that a government will be formed before the Christmas holidays, and it is possible that if the parties are ready for real talks, the president will run for a first term in January.
(Is) A cabinet with another mandate a Possibility?
If the mandate is returned unfulfilled, it goes to the second political force, which - according to the data at midnight - is GERB-SDS. It is unknown at this time whether a cabinet will be nominated, as former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov commented on election night only on the hypothesis that he was the winner and said he was "obliged to propose a government if there is one more vote" than the others.
GERB-SDS's announcement before the election was that if it is the first force, it will propose a "candidate-prime minister far removed from the party" who can negotiate with everyone and propose a responsible government. Two days before the vote, Boyko Borissov announced "Democratic Bulgaria" and "We Continue the Change" as natural partners, but did not rule out support from DPS. However, a coalition with BSP has not been ruled out so far due to a decision by the party bodies.
There is no deadline for the second term, but the prime ministerial candidate also has seven days to either propose a government or return the mandate unfulfilled.
If the second term also fails, the president can play a decisive role in forming the next government, as he chooses which of the other formations to serve the third term. The deadline for service is seven days after the return of the second, and the elected parliamentary group must nominate a candidate for prime minister, and according to a decision of the Constitutional Court, there is no deadline for that. The only requirement is that once specified, he has seven days to propose a cabinet.
In the previous two votes, Rumen Radev gave the third mandate to the third political force - "BSP for Bulgaria", which again supported him as president. According to the parallel midnight census, however, the Socialists are the fourth political force after DPS. If they get the last term, according to party members from Positano 20, they will probably try to negotiate with the so-called parties of the change for a program for the government and then - for its possible composition.
If the third term also fails, the president cannot dissolve the 47th parliament in the last three months of his term, but must appoint a caretaker government. New snap elections could be scheduled with the dissolution of the National Assembly, which is possible after January 22, when the next president's term begins.
There will be a run-off due to the low turnout - it is expected to be between the current head of state Rumen Radev and the rector of Sofia University Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov. On election night, the two announced that there would be a debate between them before the second round.
So far, neither DPS nor Democratic Bulgaria has answered which of the two candidates will call on their voters to vote. It is expected that DPS will not support Rumen Radev, but will remain behind Anastas Gerdjikov, while the democrats will not have a clear message to its voters. Presidential candidate Lozan Panov, backed in the first round by Democratic Bulgaria, has so far only said that in the second round he would not call on his voters to vote in favor of DPS.
The results of the runoff must be announced by November 23 at the latest.
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