Bulgaria Braces for Mandate Vote Tomorrow as Gabriel Withdraws PM Candidacy

Politics | March 25, 2024, Monday // 13:42
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Braces for Mandate Vote Tomorrow as Gabriel Withdraws PM Candidacy

GERB is gearing up to vote on Mariya Gabriel's unsuccessful mandate following another round of failed negotiations with “We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria” (WCC-DB). Deputy Chairperson Temenuzka Petkova of GERB submitted a draft resolution to parliament early this morning, seeking to terminate Gabriel's mandate to form a government. This resolution is expected to be swiftly voted on during an extraordinary session tomorrow.

In response to the collapsed negotiations, Mariya Gabriel promptly submitted a statement to the National Assembly, declaring her refusal to participate in the parliamentary procedure for selecting a prime minister and proposing a government structure. Petkova's draft resolution seeks to formalize the end of Gabriel's mandate, a rare occurrence in Bulgaria's recent political history, mirroring a precedent set in the 46th National Assembly.

Following the vote on Gabriel's mandate, attention shifts to President Rumen Radev, who will likely issue a second exploratory mandate to WCC-DB, the second-largest political force. However, the likelihood of WCC-DB successfully forming a government remains uncertain, with GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) expressing reluctance to support a second mandate. Should WCC-DB accept the mandate, they will have seven days to fulfill it, though their ability to do so remains unclear.

Ultimately, the fate of Bulgaria's government formation process hinges on the outcome of these developments, as Radev may be forced to consider alternative options if WCC-DB fails to secure majority support.

Third term?

The prospect of a third term for President Rumen Radev appears unlikely, as previous attempts to form a government with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) have been unsuccessful. During consultations, BSP leader Kornelia Ninova expressed her reluctance for a third term, advocating instead for new elections. Similarly, the "Revival" (Vazrazhdane) party shares this view. “There Is Such a People” (TISP) suggests the need for an expert-led government appointed by the next parliament. In contrast, DPS chairman Delyan Peevski, facing sanctions under global corruption laws, declared that if offered a mandate, his party would return it, citing ideological and moral incompatibility with certain parties. Peevski emphasized the necessity for early parliamentary elections to establish a Euro-Atlantic majority government. This marks a shift from his previous stance supporting "2 in 1" elections, which he now considers unfavorable for the country. Peevski stressed the importance of forming a stable government through serious negotiations for the benefit of Bulgaria.

Time is running out

Constitutional law expert Nataliya Kiselova said on bTV that the window for scheduling early parliamentary elections alongside the European vote is narrowing. If the parliamentary elections are postponed until summer, they are likely to occur on a different date than the European elections on June 9. Kiselova noted that following the recent change in stance by DPS, President Radev may find it easier to assign the third mandate to form a government to the DPS. Additionally, she anticipates that the president will delegate much of the responsibility and initiative regarding the composition of a future caretaker government to the parliament itself.

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Tags: Bulgaria, mandate, vote, elections

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