Bulgaria's parliament on Wednesday approved the decision of the prime-minister designate of populist political formation There Is Such a People (TISP), Plamen Nikolov, to give up the nomination, effectively opening the way for president Rumen Radev to task GERB, the second biggest party in parliament, with forming the country's next government.
A total of 106 out of 166 MPs present in the fragmented parliament endorsed Nikolov's decision who said earlier he was giving up the mandate to form government "for personal reasons", as seen in a live broadcast on public television BNT. Sixty MPs voted against, one abstained. TISPs 65 MPs left the chamber and did not vote.
TISP, which received the largest number of votes in the July 11 snap election but fell short of outright majority, was handed a mandate by the president on July 30 to try to put together a cabinet. The party, led by TV show host and musician Slavi Trifonov held a series of talks with two other anti-establishment parties in the fragmented parliament, as well as Bulgarian Socialist Party, trying to persuade them to accept and support a minority government of TISP led by Nikolov.
After failing to win support from potential partners in parliament, Trifonov said in a video file posted on his Facebook profile earlier this week that TISP will not seek approval from parliament for its draft cabinet headed by Nikolov. Shortly after Trifonov's announcement, Nikolov said that he is withdrawing his nomination for prime minister.
According to the constitution, president Rumen Radev now has to hand a mandate for the formation of government to a PM-designate nominated by the second-biggest political force in parliament, the centre-right coalition of GERB party led by three times prime minister Boyko Borissov and the Union of Democratic Forces, which holds 63 seats.
If GERB-UDF also fails to propose a cabinet that would win parliament approval, the president is required to hand the mandate to a representative of one of the remaining four parliamentary groups. If no government is formed after that round, the president is required to call new elections.