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This is already too much even for dumplings: The sixth election may come within two years in Bulgaria

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Bulgáriában 2 éven belül a hatodik választást tarthatják / parliamentary elections in Bulgaria for the 6th time in a row
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President Rumen Radev has entrusted Mariya Gabriel, a representative of the GERB party which performed the best in the Bulgarian parliamentary elections on April 2nd, with the task of forming a government. The other parliamentary parties are not impressed with the candidate, and it is becoming increasingly likely that the country will hold its sixth legislative election within two years.

One question remains

Why? Recent elections have shown that no single party could secure a sufficient majority to form a functional coalition government.

In the past two years, two different solutions emerged. One involved several parties with divergent ideologies coming together, only to find out a few months later that a forced marriage cannot work, even if divorce means losing power.

This was the case for the pro-European, EU-supporting Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, whose party, “Continuing the Change,” barely lasted six months in the prime minister’s seat.

The second, much simpler scenario was that forming a government became impossible altogether, saving the effort of submitting a vote of no confidence before calling for new elections.

Currently, the second solution seems to be taking shape. President Rumen Radev, who has been the only stable figure in Bulgarian political life since January 2017, has entrusted Mariya Gabriel, a prominent representative of the GERB party, responsible for innovation and research at the European Commission, with the task of forming the government.

Gabriel spoke about her intention to create an expert government with a single goal: improving the quality of life for citizens.

However, the opposition and likely a large portion of the population are not thrilled about GERB forming a government. The real leader of the party, Boyko Borissov, who previously worked on improving the quality of life for citizens as Prime Minister, was only focused on benefiting himself and his close allies—known as corruption—which eventually led to his downfall amidst escalating bribery scandals.

Politics – the art of the impossible?

Borissov probably has a strong desire to become Prime Minister again, but he knows that in the current parliamentary composition, where his party barely received more than a quarter of the votes, he has no chance.

That’s why he has proposed the formation of various ‘expert’ governments or unity governments several times, but the opposition has not yielded thus far.

Petkov and the leaders of the second-strongest parliamentary party firmly ruled out any cooperation with Borissov’s GERB, and it seems that even smaller factions believe that joining forces with GERB would only harm their future prospects.

The problem is that while other parliamentary parties could avoid GERB, these alliances have proven to be short-lived in the past. Additionally, the nationalist and partly pro-Russian factions have gained strength, which the ‘Continuing the Change’ party is also unwilling to cooperate with.

Gabriel now has one week to find partners and ministerial candidates, and if she fails, Petkov’s party may attempt to form a government.

The only glimmer of optimism may lie in the fact that almost everyone is aware that even twenty more elections could be held, but given the current power dynamics, it is highly unlikely that any outcome would allow for the formation of a genuine and lasting parliamentary majority.

This might encourage the players in the political arena to set aside their personal and political differences and try to move the country forward.

Indications of this can be seen in the past few days, as statements about insurmountable differences between GERB and ‘Continuing the Change’ have become quieter. Public opinion pollsters are already gauging the level of societal support for such a coalition.

It’s not significant: only 29 percent of respondents would support the collaboration between the two parties, while 56 percent would oppose it. However, it is true that among voters, this is still the most popular coalition, with even fewer supporting the other possibilities.

Self-destructive

Some color has been injected into the political arena by Ivan Geshev, the Chief Prosecutor and a former ally of Borissov, who has come alive and is determined to complete his seven-year term that began in 2019.

A few days ago, Geshev became the target of an assassination attempt: a car bomb exploded near his vehicle, and the Chief Prosecutor accused Borissov and the political mafia that rules the country of carrying out the attack.

Geshev spoke of how his family members were almost victims, which is hardly believable since it was revealed that his wife and children were not even present at the scene.

Geshev’s car was not damaged by the alleged explosion, and an increasing number of people believe that the Chief Prosecutor staged the “assassination attempt” to gain some cheap popularity.

If the attack, if it even happened, backfired. More and more people are demanding the Chief Prosecutor’s resignation, as he has tarnished his office with the “story” about the attack. For now, Geshev is unwilling to step down and publicly tore apart a previously signed resignation statement.

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