Bulgarian Socialists to Form Cabinet After Gerb Rejects Offer
by Elizabeth Konstantinova
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev asked the Socialists to form a coalition Cabinet after ex-Premier Boyko Borissov, the winner of May 12 elections, rejected the offer as he lacks sufficient parliamentary support.
Borissov ruled out an agreement with rival parties to support his minority Cabinet because he doesn’t want to enter into an “unprincipled alliance,” he said in a live television broadcast from Plevneliev’s office in Sofia today. Plevneliev said he will ask the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the election runner-up, to form a government.
“I’m returning the mandate, because I don’t want to betray my voters,” Borissov said. “I haven’t held negotiations with anyone because I know I can form a government only if I enter into unprincipled alliances.”
Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest nation, is struggling to emerge from political turmoil that started with anti-austerity protests that forced out Borissov’s government in February and led to early parliamentary elections. Bulgaria survived the global financial crisis without an international bailout because of deep cuts.
The former ruling Gerb party won 97 seats, falling short of the 121 votes needed for an outright majority in the 240-member legislature, in which four parties are represented. The Socialists, the ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the nationalist Attack party ruled out taking part in a coalition with Gerb.
The Socialists, which have 84 seats, and the Movement representing ethnic Turks, with 36 seats, said they are prepared to form a coalition, while Attack said it won’t support any government. The Socialists and the Movement met in Parliament today to discuss a joint program.
“It is quite possible next Tuesday to offer the new Cabinet for approval to parliament,” Lyutfi Mestan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, told reporters in Sofia today, after talks with the Socialists.
The Socialists have proposed former Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski as premier and drafted a program intended to boost economic growth and demand, Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev told reporters in Sofia today.
The plan includes reimbursing value-added tax to companies at an estimated cost of 350 million lev (0 million) and repaying about 100 million lev for completed public orders to businesses, Stanishev said.
Increasing social benefits for the poor and families with young children, which will require a total of 7 million lev, is also part of the plan.
The yield on Bulgaria’s euro-denominated bonds maturing in 2017 rose one basis point to 1.74 percent at 2:42 p.m. in Sofia. The cost of insuring the country’s debt against non-payment for five years using credit-default swaps fell 6 basis points to 105.98.
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