Bulgaria’s GERB party fails to form a government, new polls loom

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Bulgaria’s largest political party gave up its efforts to form a government on Friday, following a limited victory in this month’s parliamentary election, boosting the spectre of a snap poll in the Balkan state.

While centre-right GERB won the most seats in the April 4 polls, anger against widespread corruption in the European Union’s poorest member state has left it without an outright majority or any potential allies in the fragmented parliament.

Prime Minister-designate Daniel Mitov returned the mandate to President Rumen Radev after the two political factions whose support the party sought declined even to meet a party they accuse of fostering a climate of impunity among graft-prone officials and politically connected businessmen.

“Given that arrogant attitude, there is no point,” the outgoing three-time premier and GERB’s leader, Boyko Borissov, told a party meeting prior to the return of the mandate.

Radev said he would not rush to ask the second largest faction in parliament, the new anti-establishment faction of TV host and singer Slavi Trifonov, to try to form a government, giving it more time to consider its options.

Trifonov’s There Is Such a People (ITN) party has not revealed its plans, but indicated it may not try to lead a government, as it would lack a majority even if it teamed with two smaller protest parties it sees as potential partners.

The ITN has reiterated it would not get into any deals with traditional parties, such as GERB, the Socialists or the ethnic Turkish MRF party.

If it fails to form a government, the president should ask any of the other political factions to propose a cabinet.

An eventual third failure will prompt him to dissolve parliament, appoint an interim government and call a new election within two months.

Prolonged political uncertainty could hamper Bulgaria’s ability to effectively tap the EU’s 750 billion euro ($896 billion) coronavirus Recovery Fund and slow its preparations to adopt the euro currency in 2024.

Photo: A man with a bicycle passes in front of campaign posters of Bulgaria’s centre-right ruling GERB party with pictures of Bulgarian Prime minister Boyko Borissov in Bankaj, Bulgaria. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

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