Bulgaria at a dead end: now is the time for Radev to intervene – Elections 2021


© Velko Angelov

Now is the time for the head of state, pledging his authority, if necessary publicly, to bring together under one formula the formations of change.

The text has been republished by “Deutsche Welle.”

The question of who will take the third term and how to implement it successfully has led to new tensions between the so-called parties of change.

What exactly is happening? Let’s put things in order.

The leader of “Stand up, BG! We are coming” (IBNI) Maya Manolova suggested that the parties, without GERB and MRF, find out for themselves about the government, its priorities and the staff of a cabinet of experts and propose to the president which of them to give a third term.

Cornelia Ninova immediately saw the threat that her former party member would pull the mandate she spat at first. And by refusing to participate in these consultations, it is unknown why he called them “unconstitutional and unnatural” because they forced a decision on the president, to which only he has a constitutional right. It is not clear how his parties are forcing him, since he may not comply with it and give a mandate to whomever he wants. However, Ninova wants her to hold these consultations after receiving a third term, and until then offers the parties to warm up for consent in consultations on the budget update.

“Democratic Bulgaria” (DB) called for “There is such a people” (ITN) to return to the negotiating table, but at the same time, scorched by their behavior in the first term, bet on a firm condition – signing a coalition agreement. And in order to guarantee the participation of the first formation in the government for the third term, the co-chairman of the DB Atanas Atanasov proposed that she nominate the prime minister. By suggesting that it is good for him to be someone like the Speaker of Parliament Iva Miteva.

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The BSP is not provided for in the coalition agreement of Democratic Bulgaria, because the DB voters cannot swallow the “communists”, but it is clear that a majority cannot be formed without its votes. Standing unequally on the sidelines, the BSP will eventually be lured by the inclusion in the new cabinet of two left-wing ministers, whose actions the right-wing leaders publicly praise – Yanaki Stoilov and Boyko Rashkov, as proven fighters against Geshev, GERB and MRF.

But since the DB excludes the BSP as a mandate holder and coalition partner, there is no way that it will not be reciprocally excluded from the BSP. That is why spokesmen from both the DB and the ITN say that it is best for the mandate holder to be IBNI. Which is closest to the DB, but also the former closest to the ITN and BSP.

Things will work out according to the old populist cliché – to turn our backs on narrow party accounts and find a nationally responsible solution, as Maya Manolova called for. But only when these bills come out is it possible to get such a decision as a result – simply because everyone cares first about their own voters and their own political careers.

If, for example, in the coming days there are data from a reliable sociological agency that the ITN electorate is declining significantly due to dissatisfaction with the wasted mandate, then Slavi Trifonov’s party will sit down to negotiate a cabinet.

The next thing in the notebook: aren’t BSP and IBNI afraid of a weaker result in a new election? Ninova cannot protect her head for the third time in another failure of the BSP. And Manolova’s diverse coalition faces the threat of falling below the 4 percent barrier, especially if new and old left-patriotic populists gather strength for the next parliament. So they are “nationally responsible” – not because they are altruistic.

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In addition to preserving the identity (never with the Communists), the DB’s narrow party interest includes this big question: who will be to blame for going to the polls again. ITN’s fiercest attacks in the 46th parliament were on the DB. Slavi Trifonov’s people frantically wanted to put the blame for their failed mandate on Hristo Ivanov’s people, and service ministers came under massive attack.

If the third term goes to the DB and it fails, it is likely that the ITN will launch another propaganda offensive that the DB is failing governments – and thus hide themselves as the main culprit for the infertility of this parliament. That is why the DB wants a government (for 6-8 months because of the diverse parliament), but not with its own mandate.

Radev’s hour

In the third hand, everyone obviously has one trump card and several weak cards. That’s why the stalemate is foreshadowed. Some observers have long argued that in situations like the current one, the president can and should play a greater role than that of a constitutional official. At the very least, the constitution does not say that he must consult with the parties represented in parliament separately. Former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov even called President Rumen Radev to find a way by legal political means to force the parties to group.

By the way, Radev himself does not have serious narrow party bills to settle, as far as the first and third political forces – ITN and BSP, have previously announced their support for his second term. Probably the others would find it difficult to nominate a contender due to his high popularity – or they would participate in the competition only because of the Olympic principle.

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Now is the time for the head of state, pledging his authority, if necessary publicly, to bring together under one formula the formations of change. From the consultations, he knows well the priorities and the red lines of each of them, and he could draw a possible government in front of everyone, then hand over the third term, and the parties can apply the colors with their brushes.

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