Coalition Quandary: GERB's National Conference Mandates Negotiations with WCC-DB

Politics | March 5, 2024, Tuesday // 13:22
Bulgaria: Coalition Quandary: GERB's National Conference Mandates Negotiations with WCC-DB

As Bulgaria braces for a pivotal week, all eyes are on the coalition negotiations between GERB and "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" (WCC-DB), which will determine the future of the government. With tensions running high, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's party, GERB, is pushing for a coalition agreement outlining a division of ministerial seats, while WCC-DB insists on a memorandum focusing on key appointments in anti-corruption commissions and regulators.

GERB's national conference empowered its negotiation team, led by Mariya Gabriel, to engage with WCC-DB for a full-term coalition agreement. Borissov emphasized the urgency of reaching a comprehensive agreement, likening it to a marriage. However, he criticized WCC-DB for unilateral decisions on key appointments, signaling growing rifts within the coalition.

Borissov highlighted the deep societal divisions exposed during recent events, warning that early elections could exacerbate the polarization. Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel echoed these sentiments, stressing the need for a stable government led by GERB and emphasizing the party's expertise in legislative matters.

"I suggest you give me this vote of confidence - let's send this negotiation team with this document and try to make a comprehensive management. More of them for 9 months, for 6 months... Let's see, and let's try - we tried for 9 months. Either we do something real, as women like to say - marriage, or nothing - it doesn't work like that," said Borissov.

"On March 3, the state and the people showed a monstrously big division. It came from Shipka Peak. We, as a party, saved March 3 as a national holiday, but our chairman was booed there. Nobody from WCC-DB showed up. In other words, the pro-Russian parties and the nationalist parties appeared there, and the division along this axis can be seen. And on the other side of the axis, we, WCC-DB and DPS, remained. Going into the elections, we must be aware that this division will break down as a division, because even we, as a Euro-Atlantic coalition, will be divided among ourselves, and individually we will be much weaker in the battle for the geopolitical orientation for Bulgaria," he pointed out.

"We cannot agree that everything good should be attributed to WCC-DB, and everything unfinished or bad should be attributed to GERB. The facts say otherwise. Bulgaria needs a stable government, but this is possible only with GERB. Bulgaria needs a legislative program, but it is possible with the expertise of GERB in the National Assembly. There is a need for a management program in which the priorities of the people and regions in Bulgaria are placed on an equal footing with the topics of judicial reform, anti-corruption reform and reform of the security services. We also want something more - real application of the principles of responsibility, transparency and publicity. So we want to have a clear decision-making mechanism," said Mariya Gabriel.

Tomislav Donchev, GERB's deputy chairman, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of rotational leadership and urged for a decisive resolution to the current impasse. While early elections remain a possibility, Donchev emphasized the importance of finding a solution to ensure governance continuity and effectiveness.

"The biggest problem is that they have gone so far as to divide citizens into right and wrong. If you support one party you are right, if you support another - you are wrong. And while I have enough experience not to be offended by that, I will not allow insult you to wrong citizens and wrong politicians. I'm afraid that at the moment the rotation - in its form - is pointless. Things can't go on like this. We cannot allow the Council of Ministers to be something in between an internship program and a travel agency. We cannot allow Mariya to hold her as a hostage to explain herself for this or that minister," said Donchev.

"There is an option in the whole country to bring order - who gets the power and who uses it, and there is a need for a clear mechanism to bring order. There is a need for a chance, a last chance for things to become normal, for there to be order and rules and guarantees that the government will work and there will be results," emphasized the deputy chairman of GERB.

GERB proposes a new rotation scheme for government mandates between GERB and WCC-DB every 15 months starting from December 2024. They advocate for drafting a fresh common legislative agenda, noting that the previous one, approved in June 2023, expired in December of the same year.

GERB identifies several key priorities that should form the basis of the agreement:

  • Ensuring sustainable public finances, with a focus on attaining Bulgaria's goal of joining the Eurozone, alongside continued efforts to combat corruption.
  • Unlocking the nation's potential for rapid economic and social progress, including policies to modernize infrastructure and enhance energy efficiency.
  • Prioritizing education, including vocational training, and investing in human capital development.
  • Advancing Bulgaria's Schengen accession to encompass land borders.
  • Ensuring national security.
  • Committing unequivocally to Bulgaria's European and Euro-Atlantic development path.

Tomorrow, GERB will begin negotiation with WCC-DB for governing until the end of the mandate of the 49th National Assembly, which is based on a signed coalition agreement and a decision-making mechanism in the coalition. The mandate for this was given by the National Conference of the party. The negotiating team includes Mariya Gabriel, Temenuzka Petkova, Raya Nazaryan and Denitsa Sacheva.

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov has repeatedly stated that he will resign on March 6. On this date, nine months would have passed since the election of the "Denkov-Gabriel" government to the National Assembly, and the agreement between GERB and "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" is to change the prime minister's seat every nine months (rotation).

In the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly, there is no mention of a deadline in which the resignation of the prime minister and the government must be voted on. He continues to govern until a new one is elected or a date for early elections is set.

On March 6 and 7, a meeting of the European People's Party (EPP), of which GERB is a part, has been announced in Bucharest, and Borissov has given a request that he will attend together with Mariya Gabriel.

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Politics » Be a reporter: Write and send your article
Tags: Bulgaria, coalition negotiations, GERB, WCC-DB

Bulgaria news (Sofia News Agency - is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." (Sofia News Agency - and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria