Petkov on the Agreement with GERB: We didn't Keep our Promise, I'm Sorry. This is the Best we could do

Politics | May 23, 2023, Tuesday // 13:02
Bulgaria: Petkov on the Agreement with GERB: We didn't Keep our Promise, I'm Sorry. This is the Best we could do Kiril Petkov

"One of the things I didn't like about politicians when I was in the role of an observer is that they explain what the reasons are for breaking a promise. At such a time a hundred wells of water are often drawn to explain why something was not done as promised. First, it must be clearly recognized that the promise not to have a single person associated with GERB in a future cabinet with a second term has not been kept with Mariya Gabriel. If this made our friends and constituents feel terrible, I apologize! But  I sincerely believe that in this situation it is the best we can do."

This is the first comment of the co-chairman of "We Continue the Change" (WCC) Kiril Petkov, after Nikolay Denkov and Mariya Gabriel announced yesterday that GERB and WCC have agreed that they will rotate as prime minister and deputy prime minister.

Since yesterday, comments have been pouring in on social networks that WCC betrayed their voters, as they repeatedly promised, before and after the election campaign, that in the 49th National Assembly, they would keep the so-called "red lines" and will not ally with GERB, nor support or participate in a cabinet in which there are their representatives.

According to Bulgarian media "OFFNews", "Democratic Bulgaria" does not fully approve of the idea of rotation. They are expected to support the "Gabriel-Denkov" cabinet, but without participating in it with ministers.

Here is the full text from Kiril Petkov:

"To have a government with ministers who will work for Bulgaria without stealing and to be able to fulfill many of our hopes for change - I deeply believe that it is possible with the form of government that we have presented.

First, this format is not a coalition, on the contrary - it was created precisely because we cannot form a coalition with GERB. The coalition would be much easier if we trusted each other, but as I said before, we don't. And because we don't have one, we have to enter into this complex structure of changing the prime minister after 9 months. It is important to note that the change of Prime Minister will be a fact, but the ministers will remain the same. This model of government, when there is an impossibility for two parties to be in a coalition, but also an impossibility to form a cabinet without a general vote in the parliament, is the only one possible - we borrow it from countries like Ireland, Israel and Romania. So it is important to say that the rotation model applies when two political forces do not trust each other, but they cannot form a government without the votes of both.

I see that some say: 'You form the government, but after 9 months you may not support it'. No! Quite the opposite - we will respect our responsibility in this formula and we are doing it to reach at least 18 months in management. 18 months is the minimum time frame for Schengen, the Eurozone, working on the recovery plan and unblocking all the infrastructure projects that need to happen if we want to be on the road to a normal European country.

Mariya Gabriel was the key to this model being constructed. She is someone who has undeniable qualities and competence in Brussels. No one is under the impression that in order for the Eurozone and Schengen not to remain just words, someone must make them happen in Europe. I think that even the biggest critics of GERB cannot deny that Mariya Gabriel has more experience than many others to make these two tasks work in Europe. I personally believe that with her as Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the first 9 months, and then as Prime Minister, she will give us a real chance for this to happen. I also believe, precisely because she has not been in Bulgaria for so many years, that makes her different from other political figures, so that she can be an important part of this rotation mechanism, without betraying our beliefs and put up a real fight against corruption.

Now here comes the huge criticism: 'You surrendered and now there is no way to fight corruption'. I want to make it clear here: if the fight against corruption depends on whether Mariya Gabriel is in or out of government, it is no fight at all. We will be unyielding to anyone who tries to steal a single lev from public funds, regardless of whether that minister is from our party or any other party. We have already shown with our work with 'There Is Such a People' that if we have to choose to close our eyes to potential corruption or to have the government fall, we will always do what we already did the first time - we will choose to have the government fall. We all know that the real reason for the fall was not Macedonia, but that when faced with the choice of whether to pay the money for road repairs in a non-transparent manner or to have the government fall, we chose the latter.

So along these lines, both you and anyone considering such a proposal should already know that we will choose not to be in power over turning a blind eye to corruption. The rotation mechanism allows for this in both periods - the first 9 months Niki Denkov can resign, after that - all the ministers can too. So with this build, on this topic, we haven't made any compromise. We will also use these months to change the government's anti-corruption rules. We will fight to bring back all the controls of a country with all the regulators that have long since expired.

We brought back the subject of the Electoral Code - and it is key to holding fair local elections. We will fight for a change in the Constitution - it already depends on the other parties. If we want real change, however, there must be success on these topics and it should not depend so much on which government is in power, but really depend on what kind of institutions we have.

Now let's go to the real 'other choice' that stands if we don't do this mechanism - a sixth election in a row. I don't want to list here all the problems with this option, but still here are some real consequences of such a situation: 1) no budget 2) we lose the money from the Recovery and Resilience Plan 3) no Schengen and Eurozone 4) there is a collapse of statehood 5) no reforms in the prosecutor's office and the regulators 6) the name of Bulgaria in front of the world becomes absolutely broken 7) we let the pseudo-nationalists grow and throw red paint on the European institutions under the pretext of a march for peace and win voters with the LIES that someone was going to send Bulgarians to fight in Ukraine (this by the way for all the young people in 'Vazrazhdane' - please don't believe this nonsense - it will never happen).

Friends, this is only a small fraction of the cost of consecutive elections and I have always felt that if one is faced with a dilemma of choosing between two options that are not good, analyzing how bad only one option is and forgetting the other certainly gives limited analysis of this choice.

And here I want to directly answer the question based on these arguments, how I made my personal choice for this decision. In these moments, in order to be free to make such a decision, a person must truly understand what forces are driving him. I will not be part of this Council of Ministers. I am comfortable saying that power-hunger was not a factor for me in this decision. Based on all these arguments, deep down I feel that with 64 MPs for change out of a total of 240, this proposal for governing Bulgaria for the next 18 months is the best we can do."

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Tags: Petkov, Gabriel, GERB, government

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