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Bulgaria’s WCC-DB declines to form govt

Mar 27, 2024, 3:51:54 PMArticle by Mihaela Miteva
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March 27 (SeeNews) - Nikolay Denkov, the Bulgarian prime minister-designate put forward by the coalition We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (WCC-DB), the runner-up in the latest general election, on Wednesday refused to form the country's next government, bringing closer the prospects of snap election.

Bulgaria’s WCC-DB declines to form govt
Image source: BNT

"I return the mandate unfulfilled, since in the current National Assembly there is no longer support for the governance programme and the reforms that were the basis of the formation of this government," Denkov, who had been serving as prime minister since June 6, 2023, told president Rumen Radev upon receiving the mandate, as seen in a live broadcast by public television BNT.

Earlier this week, deputy prime minister Mariya Gabriel, who was nominated for prime minister by the coalition GERB-UDF, the largest political group in parliament, withdrew her candidacy for the position and said she would not propose a list of cabinet ministers, effectively sending the ball in WC-DB's court. This came after eleven nominees withdrew from the list of ministers drafted by Gabriel and after the failure of the negotiations between GERB-UDF and WCC-DB to stick to their power-sharing deal.

Bulgaria's parliament accepted earlier this month the resignation of prime minister Denkov, opening the way for a rotation of government agreed upon earlier between GERB-UDF and WCC-DB. As part of the agreement, Gabriel was set to take over from Denkov as prime minister for the next nine months.

The president should now pass the third and final exploratory mandate to a political formation of his choosing.

If no government is formed then, the president should appoint a caretaker cabinet and call snap general elections. The caretaker prime minister can be chosen from a list of candidates endorsed by parliament, including the parliament speaker, the governor or deputy governor of the central bank, the chairman or deputy chairman of the Chamber of Audit and the ombudsman or deputy ombudsman, who resigned earlier on Wednesday.

Following the snap election held on April 2 last year, GERB-UDF has 69 seats in the 240-seat National Assembly, while WCC-DB controls 63. Four other parties are represented in parliament - the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 36 MPs that draws support mainly among Bulgarian ethnic Turks and Muslims, staunchly nationalist, pro-Russia formation Vazrazhdane (Revival) with 34 MPs, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 23 and the populist There is Such a People (TISP) with 11 MPs.

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