Bulgaria slides into political crisis as new election looms

Bulgaria’s political crisis has taken a new twist after an anti-establishment party that narrowly won last month’s elections gave back its mandate to form a government

The move by the There is Such a People party of popular TV entertainer Slavi Trifonov came after its potential partners in parliament refused to back the party’s nomination for prime minister, voicing skepticism of his ability to introduce efficient reforms.

In a 106-60 vote with one abstention, lawmakers on Thursday rejected the Cabinet line-up proposed by Trifonov’s party.

According to Trifonov, the country is heading for a new early vote – that follows two in the last six months — because his party will not participate in talks on a government with any other political party given a mandate by the president.

In the July election Trifonov’s party won 65 seats, just two more than the GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Four other parties also made it into the 240-seat chamber.

Now, President Rumen Radev must hand a mandate to the second-largest political party in parliament to form a government. Borissov’s party, however, has no support to build a majority and has already declared that it will return the mandate immediately.

A possible call on a third party, which by law the president is empowered to do, is also likely to fail due to the deep fragmentation in parliament.

Another snap election would remain as the only option, under which the country would continue to be governed by a caretaker cabinet appointed by the president.

Political analysts predict that a new vote could have a similar outcome and deepen the political impasse that has gripped the European Union’s poorest member country.

They also expect political instability to hinder Bulgaria’s ability to effectively tap the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund and disrupt its path toward adopting the euro currency in 2024.

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