SOFIA, July 30 — Bulgaria’s president today said he would formally task the anti-establishment ITN party with forming a government, moving to break a stalemate between political parties.
There is Such a People (ITN), founded by showman Slavi Trifonov, gathered the biggest share of the vote in a July 11 general election with just over 24 per cent, narrowly beating the conservative GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
ITN has refused to form a formal coalition with other parties and has instead sought support from smaller parties for a minority government in order to pursue policies, including judicial reform and an overhaul of health and social care.
But talks have stalled in recent days over ITN’s refusal to announce any details on its prime minister-designate or proposed ministers, prompting anger from its potential partners, who have said they will not “sign a blank cheque”.
Seeking to break the stalemate, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that he would nonetheless formally task ITN this afternoon with forming a government—a move that will start the post-election process and its deadlines.
“It’s time for Bulgarians to learn who is the PM designate and what are the real intentions of the election winners,” Radev said.
After Radev hands it the formal mandate, ITN will have a week to put forward a cabinet for approval by MPs.
If the party fails to get a cabinet approved, the task of forming a government will fall to second-placed GERB.
GERB, which after a decade of dominating Bulgarian politics now finds itself without potential allies, has said it would return the mandate without proposing a cabinet.
Radev would then hand a third and last mandate to a party of his choosing.
If that party fails to form a cabinet, the country will hold snap polls—the third this year following ones in April and July.
Analysts say that if ITN fail to form a government, a snap vote would indeed be the most likely outcome for the EU’s poorest and most graft-prone member state.
The latest signals from ITN have been mixed. On Friday, some of its members said that “the doors (to talks) are not closed” to other parties.
But its vice-chairman Toshko Yordanov yesterday said that yet another election was a possibility. — AFP