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A government with the second mandate – a possibility yet full of misgivings

President Radev is acting on the edge of his powers under the Constitution, analysts say

Photo: BGNES

The political conundrum in which Bulgaria finds itself is becoming more and more insolvable, as the way out of the political crisis, which has been going on for two years now, seems to be receding again.

Additional fuel was added to the fire with the recording of the May 21 National Council of “We Continue the Change" party, made by MP Radostin Vassilev. It makes clear the party's desire to staff the security services, to conduct a purge in the public administration, as well as to circumvent part of the requirements for the country's accession to Schengen and the Eurozone with the assistance of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

Quite expectedly, the published information provoked sharp reactions on the part of political leaders, the most extreme of which was that of the leader of Vazrazhdane party Kostadin Kostadinov, according to whom the coalition “We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria” (PP-DB) should be banned and its leaders imprisoned for treason.

President Rumen Radev also reacted very sharply during the handing over of the second exploratory mandate for forming a regular government within the framework of the 49th National Assembly. The Bulgarian head of state met with the representatives of the second-largest political formation in the parliament, namely the PP-DB, and, handing over the folder with the mandate to their candidate for Prime Minister Acad. Nikolay Denkov, called on them to completely reconsider the expediency of utilizing this mandate, qualifying it as "already discredited".

"Until now, I have never observed a situation in which the president hands over a mandate with reluctance, even disgust. Rumen Radev handed the mandate to people whom he obviously dislikes. The president as we have him now is harmful to Bulgaria," political analyst and civil activist Vesislava Tancheva told BNR.

Velislava Tancheva

According to her, the behaviour demonstrated by the head of state borders on the limits of his authority under the Constitution:

"I call on the parties in the parliament not to be passive observers of this behaviour and we want to proceed to a procedure to remove the president. Whether it will pass or not is not important, but the important thing is to put the topic on the agenda," Tancheva urges.

"An ugly moment in Bulgarian democratic history" - this is how political scientist Svetoslav Malinov defined the procedure for handing over a cabinet-forming mandate and added:

Svetoslav Malinov

"I expect a renewal of negotiations and a regular cabinet within three days. This is a situation that should not be postponed any longer. The speech of the president is a very bad sign for Europe. It will cause a serious shock to the reputation. Moreover, he stated that he does not want anyone to touch his services... This is a very carefully planned speech".

Svetoslav Malinov calls for changes in the composition of the Denkov draft cabinet and pointed out that the responsibility of the PP-DB and GERB-SDS to their voters is growing enormously.

Yavor Bozhanov

"The president should cooperate and be that mediator who will make every effort, regardless of whether it is the first, second or third term, for Bulgaria to have a regular government”, says MP Yavor Bozhankov from PP-DB coalition.  “The fact that Radev works for having yet another caretaker government is no secret, but until now he never stated it so directly. For him, the Constitution seems to be some sort of a boring theatrical scenery. The attacks from the presidency have never stopped, but now they have reached a peak," he said, commenting on the handing over of the second mandate to PP-DB.

After the freezing of the negotiations between GERB-SDS and PP-DB, it is important to see whether these talks can be formalized in a civilized manner after the handover of the mandate, says political scientist Lyubomir Stefanov.

"The only viable option from the very beginning was an expert cabinet. If Nikolay Denkov and Mariya Gabriel continue the conversation in this direction, and everyone else swallows their egos, this would be the most reasonable option."

As for the composition of the Council of Ministers, the political scientist believes it should not include politically anonymous persons, but also not familiar faces from the first ranks in the plenary hall.

And this is how voters react watching the political bargaining about the formation of a regular government:

"We are moving towards new elections, because it is clear that there is no way to have a working coalition between GERB and We Continue the Change," says one of the respondents.

Another citizen adds that it is really better to go for new elections, since no one from the current National Assembly is trusted.

"The situation is such that I do not see any different balance of power in the next elections. Sooner or later, they will have to reach an understanding, because everything else means an endless cycle of elections, which I see no point in”, says another voter.

Translated and published by Rositsa Petkova
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