Bulgaria Face New Elections as Socialists Return Mandate

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev arrives for two-day EU Council meeting in Brussels 20 October 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Snap elections will take place in late March or early April. 

Bulgaria's 2020-2021 political stalemate was temporarily solved by the establishment of Kiril Petkov's reformist but shaky coalition government, led by his party, "We Continue the Change".

But in June 2022, his coalition was ousted, after which ex-PM Boyko Borissov's GERB came first in elections held in October. 

However, after neither GERB nor "We Continue the Change" mustered a majority in the fragmented parliament, President Radev handed the third mandate to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, his old allies - but with whom he's been in tension in recent months.

Despite shared pro-Moscow leanings, the BSP has become increasingly critical of the President's growing power.

"The other [party[ leaders are finally realising that the model of the parliamentary republic is in danger", Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova said on Sunday in a TV interview, referencing Radev's mounting political ambitions. 

Last week, meanwhile, relations warmed between the Socialists and their opponents in GERB and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

On January 20, Borissov even said that he could "imagine some kind of a government with the BSP" in the form of an "expert cabinet" which would then seek a majority. 

In late 2022, GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the BSP all cooperated on amendments to the electoral code. 

On Sunday, President Radev confirmed that Galab Donev, previously his social policy advisor, will extend his functions as a caretaker PM until May. This continues the trend of the President...

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