This content is not available in your region

New Bulgaria polls loom after ITN party gives up on forming government

Access to the comments Comments
By Reuters
New Bulgaria polls loom after ITN party gives up on forming government
New Bulgaria polls loom after ITN party gives up on forming government   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Tsvetelia Tsolova

SOFIA – Bulgaria’s largest political grouping gave up efforts to lead a minority government on Tuesday following a razor-thin victory in last month’s parliamentary election, increasing the prospect of new polls later this year.

The anti-establishment There Is Such a People (ITN) party narrowly won the second 2021 election on July 11, bolstered by public anger against widespread corruption after over a decade of dominance by former centre-right premier Boyko Borissov.

But with just 65 seats it needed the support of other smaller parties in the fractured chamber of 240 lawmakers, having declined cooperation with Borissov’s GERB or the ethnic Turkish MRF party.

Yet it failed win the backing of its potential allies, two small anti-graft parties, after refusing to sign a political agreement with them and proposing ministers which they saw as unfit to battle high-level corruption.

In a statement streamed live on Facebook, ITN leader Slavi Trifonov said he would not put his proposed minority government to a vote in parliament as previously expected and accused the two protest parties of betrayal.

“Without the support of the protest parties we will not propose a government,” Trifonov said.

“It is clear that the protest against GERB and all (that was) done by GERB has stayed in the past, while now in the parliament we see political ambitions, hypocrisy, lies, betrayals and games that are absolutely unacceptable for me,” he said.

ITN‘s failure to lead a government increases the prospect of new elections this year, creating a political vacuum that could hamper Bulgaria’s ability to tackle an expected new upsurge in COVID-19 or tap into the European Union’s coronavirus Recovery Fund.

Under the constitution, there will be two more attempts to form a government by other political parties, but political analysts say the chances of success look limited.

On Tuesday, Trifonov said ITN would not back any new attempt to form a government within the current parliament, despite calls from smaller parties to agree on a cabinet with a limited lifeline of six to eight months to avoid a political crisis.