Bulgaria’s president Rumen Radev said on Monday that he is tasking the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), a member of the outgoing ruling coalition, with the formation of a new cabinet, after each of the two largest political forces in parliament returned an exploratory mandate unfulfilled.
"The BSP has so far demonstrated that it can seek consensus and work together with its political opponents whilst remaining diplomatic in an uneasy coalition," the president said as he handed the mandate to BSP floor leader Georgi Svilenski.
The nomination for prime minister should come from WCC as the largest parliamentary group, BSP's leader and outgoing economy minister in the WCC-led coalition government, Kornelia Ninova, said as seen in a video file by public broadcaster BNT. The Socialists are prepared to negotiate with their current coalition partners WCC and Democratic Bulgaria as well as with TISP, she added.
Last week, the president held talks with all political parties represented in parliament in a bid to overcome the deepening political crisis in the country resulting from the current government losing a motion of no confidence in June and the inability of the two other mandate recipients to put together a government.
The president initiated the consultations after opposition GERB-UDF, the second biggest political force in parliament led by former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, returned the second exploratory mandate to form a new government as soon as receiving it.
Earlier this month, PM-designate Assen Vassilev, nominated by “We Continue the Change” (WCC) party - the biggest formation in parliament, also returned the mandate to the president, citing the party's inability to garner support from at least 121 members of the 240-seat National Assembly.
BSP is the fourth biggest political force in parliament, with 26 seats. WCC, led by outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, has 69 MPs, while GERB-UDF has 59. It is the president's constitutional prerogative to choose the political party which receives the third exploratory mandate.
The remaining parties in parliament are opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 34 seats, Democratic Bulgaria (a member of the outgoing coalition) with 16 and the populist Revival with 12. There is also former coalition partner There Is Such a People (TISP), which is left with 18 seats after seven of its MPs defected from the party when it left the WCC-led coalition last month.
If BSP fails to assemble a government, the president will dissolve parliament and will call early general elections - the fourth within a year and a half.