Bulgaria’s president calls on a third party to form a government

VESELIN TOŠKOV, Associated Press

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Monday gave the third-largest political party in parliament a mandate to form a government after two previous attempts failed.

Although the socialist party’s chances of success are slim, its leader Georgi Svilenski said his party would invite the three other groups in the former coalition to try again.

Svilenski told Radev that he will strive to fulfill his mandate, as the public needs peace and certainty.

The move comes after the two main groups in parliament – the reformist We Continue to Change party and the centre-right GERB party – failed to end the latest political crisis for the European Union and NATO member amid rising tensions with Russia.

The ouster of pro-Western cabinet minister Kirill Petkov, who took office last December and promised zero tolerance for corruption, helped pave the way for new elections that analysts expected would bring a greater presence of nationalist and pro-Russian groups in parliament.

The Socialists have announced that they will propose that the candidate for prime minister be the We continue to change party, as it is the largest parliamentary group.

If the coalition negotiations fail, which according to analysts is more than likely, the president must dissolve the parliament, appoint an interim government and call new early parliamentary elections.

The elections will be held in early October and will be the fourth parliamentary elections in Bulgaria since April 2021.

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

Political instability is also expected to hamper Bulgaria’s ability to tap into the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund and hinder its path to adopting the euro currency in 2024.

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