The National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) will meet earlier in the week to decide whether to continue efforts for a government proposal or to hand back the mandate, party leader Kornelia Ninova told Bulgarian National Radio on July 24.
“If we see that there is no possibility for a government, we will not abuse the mandate and return it, but we will continue our efforts to the last,” Ninova said.
There will be more clarity by Wednesday, Tuesday evening at the earliest, she said.
Ninova’s comments came after ITN party leader Slavi Trifonov announced on July 22 that the party was withdrawing from talks on forming a new government within the current parliament.
Trifonov’s announcement came hours after Ninova said the BSP would keep the third mandate until August 12 and propose canceling part of parliament’s summer recess to allow for the election of a new head of the energy regulator and the passage of key legislation including anti-corruption.
The cable TV presenter expressed offense at the content of a leaked discussion by the Democratic Bulgaria faction, although Democratic Bulgaria said the discussion was a routine political conversation with no real basis for Trifonov to be offended.
Ninova told BNR, “For example, driven by concerns about the situation with the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission, we are having talks about maintaining the mandate to resolve these issues for the people.”
She referred to the consequences of the Constitutional Court’s decision last week that the election of the Chair of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission was unconstitutional.
Ninova said that after the BSP National Council session, the party would meet with the partners of the three parties – meaning We Continue the Change, Democratic Bulgaria and ITN, the groups with which the BSP had tried to develop a new version of the four-sided coalition of December 2021.
“We have not held talks with ITN as to whether they would agree to a postponement of the mandate after Slavi Trifonov announced that he is withdrawing the party from the government negotiations,” Ninova said.
GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms have asked Ninova to return the mandate on July 25.
Following Trifonov’s announcement on Friday, President Roumen Radev said the BSP should fulfill the third mandate in accordance with the constitution and “the interpretative decision of the Constitutional Court.”
This was an apparent reference to a 1992 court opinion which stated that the holder of the third mandate should nominate a candidate for prime minister one week after receiving the mandate and submit a cabinet proposal two weeks after receiving the mandate.
If this approach were followed, the BSP, which received the mandate on July 18, would return it on July 25.
However, the constitution itself is silent on the issue of the timeframe for the third and final mandate to form a government. Based on that, Ninova had tried to hold it until mid-August.
Asked by BNR how she explained that Radev, GERB and the MRF spoke with one voice, Ninova said: “To me it’s politically illogical”.
Ninova said the goal of the BSP, WCC and Democratic Bulgaria is to fight corruption, change the old model, have new rules and the rule of law.
“Perhaps that stalled the negotiations,” she said.
She said that GERB, the MRF and Vuzrazhdane saw that there was a chance to elect the anti-corruption commission headed by Boiko Rashkov and “they got scared and pulled ITN out again”.
Ninova said that early parliamentary elections are meaningless: “It will be like that again, we will miss the important summer months when we can make decisions about the winter.”
ITN MP Stanislav Balabanov told Nova Televizia on July 24 that there was no way for ITN to return to the negotiating table.
Balabanov said that “if Kornelia Ninova has dignity, she should return the mandate on Monday”.
Deputy leader of democratic Bulgaria Hristo Ivanov told BNR on July 24 that “some factions have politically functional illiteracy”.
He was referring to Trifonov and ITN’s reaction to the leaked recording.
“To say that the country should be thrown into elections because of this is either the highest level of serious inadequacy or dependence on the plan of GERB and MRF to prove that the country cannot be governed without them,” Ivanov said said.
“It is only against this backdrop that these two parties can appear acceptable and return to power to consume in corrupt ways.”
Ivanov said the country must have a government: “It is facing one of the most serious crises”.
“Against this background, someone was offended. Who does this serve? GERB and MRF. The ITN faction has to answer a simple question: What exactly does it mean that they are sulky and squeamish?” Ivanov said.
“No matter how stupid you Bulgarian voters think that they don’t notice what’s happening for the fourth time, it’s absurd. These same strategy geniuses made the decision that if people are offended and cause an election, they will say ‘okay’ to spend another million on elections.
“We cannot throw the country into chaos with early elections. During this time, we must secure the country’s energy balance. Instead we will go to elections. Instead of worrying about our safety, we’re going to vote for the next budget. There are tasks that need to be done now,” Ivanov said.
(Photo by Ninova: BSP)
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