Bulgaria headed for third election in six months

By Dénes Albert
4 Min Read

Winning an election and being able to govern are two very different things, and the case of Bulgarian folk singer cum politician Slavi Trifonov proves just that: since winning the July elections, he has been unable – and perhaps unwilling – to cobble together a workable coalition.

One day ahead of the vote to confirm a new government, election winner Trifonov gave back his mandate to form a government.

“We do not propose any government to parliament, new elections are coming,” Trifonov said on Tuesday, one day before the vote scheduled to confirm the country’s new government.

Bulgarian constitutional lawyers are currently debating whether, despite the announcement, it is mandatory to hold a parliamentary vote to approve the cabinet, or whether the issue can be removed from the agenda. However, Trifonov also said in a press release on Tuesday that he supports President Rumen Radev’s second five-year term in the fall election.

Trifonov, a musician by trade, became the head of the ITN party born during last year’s anti-establishment protests and placed second in the April elections. The winner of those elections was unable to form a government, so another election was held in JUly, this time won by ITN with 23.8 percent of the votes, giving Trifonov 65 seats in Bulgaria’s 250-seat legislation.

Oddly enough, on the day of the announcement of the results, the president of the party that won the early elections in July 11 announced a minority government without any consultation, on the grounds that in his view a coalition government had a “negative tone”.

This had the immediate effect of driving a wedge between ITN and the other two protest parties: Stand Up, Mafia Out; and Rise Up.

By now, the relationship between ITN and the other two protest parties has gone completely sour, although their programs largely overlap. According to Trifonov, his former allies are now rumbling because they have demanded more ministerial portfolios for themselves.

After the two smaller protest parties declared earlier in the week that they would not support the government of ITN, analysts concluded that the former allies appear to have burned every bridge between each other.

Traditional parliamentary parties, the conservative populist GERB and the Socialists, have previously declared that they do not support Trifonov’s party. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev is now entrusting GERB, which finished in second place in the July election to form a government, but analysts say it will return the mandate almost immediately.

The president can then entrust the Bulgarian Socialist Party with the formation of a government, but they are unlikely to succeed either. As a result, it is likely that Bulgaria is headed for its third election since April.

Title image: Slavi Trifonov, head of the BUlgarian There is Such a People (ITN) party.

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