Political rivals agree on coalition government to end deadlock: Bulgaria

AP , Monday 22 May 2023

The leaders of Bulgaria’s two main rival political parties reached a deal Monday to form a coalition government with a rotating prime minister intended to end a long-running political impasse in the corruption-plagued European Union member country, which has held five elections in the past two years.

Bulgaria s Prime minister-designate Nikolay Denkov
Bulgaria s Prime minister-designate Nikolay Denkov (C) of the anti-graft party We Continue the Change (PP) addresses media next to the former EU commissioner for innovation, Bulgaria s Mariya Gabriel (L) from conservative GERB party during a joint news conference in Sofia on May 22, 2023. Former EU commissioner for innovation Mariya Gabriel, tasked with leading political negotiations in Bulgaria, said on May 22, 2023 that a compromise to form a stable government had been reached after five elections in two years. AFP


The center-right GERB party which won April’s general election will alternate for the post of premier with runner-up, the reformist coalition led by “We Continue the Change.” Each party will hold the top post for nine months.

Reformist coalition designated leader Nikolay Denkov will be the first prime minister, while GERB’s Maria Gabriel, a former ex-European Commissioner, will serve as deputy head of government and foreign minister. They will then switch positions for the rest of the term.

“The situation is extremely difficult. After five elections in a row, we have difficulty forming a regular cabinet and there is a real danger of going to the next election in a row with no clear result,” Denkov said.

Gabriel said the deal needs support from both parliamentary groups. She and Denkov still need to convince their party cadres that this is the best way to overcome the crisis.

The coalition government must also be approved by the 240-seat National Assembly, where both groups hold a combined majority of 133 seats.

The parties said they will seek to cobble together a constitutional majority of two-thirds of parliamentary seats in order to push through comprehensive judicial reform, fulfill all requirements for membership to the EU's visa-free Schengen area as well as the timely adoption of the euro.

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