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site.btaUPDATED GERB-UDF Receive Mandate to Form Government, Designate Prominent Neurosurgeon for PM

GERB-UDF Receive Mandate to Form Government, Designate Prominent Neurosurgeon for PM
GERB-UDF Receive Mandate to Form Government, Designate Prominent Neurosurgeon for PM
left to right: GERB deputy leader Tomislav Donchev, GERB floor leader Dessislava Atanassova, Nikolay Gabrovski as President Rumen Radev (first from right) hands them the mandate to form a government, Sofia, Dec. 5, 2022 (BTA Photo)

President Rumen Radev Monday mandated GERB-UDF to form a government. The prime minister-designate is Nikolay Gabrovski, a prominent neurosurgeon and deputy director of Sofia's Pirogov emergency hospital.

GERB-UDF floor leader Dessislava Atanassova and GERB deputy leader Tomislav Donchev were also in the President's Office for the mandate's presentation.

"As the leading political force, you have the biggest responsibility to form a government," President Radev said as he handed them the mandate.

He told them that he expects GERB-UDF to propose a cabinet lineup "that lives up to the high expectations of people for stability, competence and responsibility".

Nikolay Gabrovski said he will make every effort to propose a cabinet "that is farther from political talk, from confrontation and closer to professionalism, so that Bulgaria can more easily pass through this historical moment in which it finds itself". "For me it is a duty, a matter of honour to make every effort for Bulgaria to have a working government. Unfortunately, the country is currently at the crossroads of multiple crises: economic, social, a serious migrant pressure that has claimed victims, and a political crisis lasting for a second year now," he said

Speaking to reporters later on Monday, Gabrovski also said he is not yet ready with a cabinet lineup. He also said: "We will rely mostly on professionalism, on people far from the party structures, who are known for their expertise in different areas."

He stressed that he would seek support from everyone, adding that moving towards dialogue will be his goal.

Gabrovski noted that his door will be open to all and he will talk to everyone and seek professionalism starting this day. 

He expressed hope that him being chosen as a person "who is consensual, professional, equally distant from and in good dialogue with all parties", to use his own words, will enable a new tone in politics.

Gabrovski would not say who invited him to be designated for prime minister.

Asked by reporters during a visit to Albania later on Monday to comment Gabrovski's designation as prime minister, President Radev said that he is "an outstanding professional in his field and an administrator" but what happens next "is totally up to the Bulgarian parliament to decide". He sees a progress in that people and politicians"gradually understand that apathy and onlooker's comments will not get this country moving forward. "I am saying again: we need a much higher voter turnout and legitimate institutions."

The turnout in the October 22 snap general elections was 39%.

The procedure

GERB-UDF have one week to fulfil the mandate. If they fail, the second largest parliamentary group, Continue the Change, will be given the task with the same time limit, but they have already said they would decline the mandate if paper ballots are reinstated by revisions in the Election Code – which a parliamentary majority of GERB-UDF, BSP for Bulgaria and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) has just done.

If the first two mandate fail to produce a government, the third one will go to a third parliamentary group of the President's choice. If that fails, too, the head of State must appoint a caretaker cabinet, disband Parliament, and schedule early parliamentary elections within two months.

Continue the Change, Socialists remain determined not to back GERB government

As President Rumen Radev was expected to hand the government mandate to GERB-UDF, Continue the Change reiterated that they are not going to back "any form of a GERB government". "We can't wait to see who is GERB's Prime Minister-designate. We expect this person to hold it briefly before returning it unused," Daniel Lorer of Continue the Change told reporters before the first mandate was presented by Radev later on Monday.

Lorer added that his party's position will not change regardless of who receives the mandate.

He also noted: "We have said many times that we are ready to discuss with all parties policies that we find important for this country."

Reiterating their position not to back a GERB-proposed cabinet in the morning show of bTV, Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova was skeptical about seeing a government being formed on the GERB mandate and said that there is no declared support from the political parties to guarantee a majority for GERB.

"I don't think they will get support, whoever their candidate for prime minister is", she added.

Asked whether the BSP for Bulgaria would support a cabinet of Continue the Change - if GERB fail and the second mandate goes to them in their capacity as the second largest political group in Parliament, Ninova said that it seemed it would not be necessary, as Continue the Change have said they would not propose a government. 

Bulgarian Rise believe that a government should be formed preferably on the first mandate. According to them, this would require consultations. 

Movement for Rights and Freedoms also share the position that consultations and talks should be held on the formation of a future regular cabinet. 

GERB-UDF, the MRF and Bulgarian Rise have a total of 115 seats in Parliament combined and will need at least six more for the 121 MP majority to elect a government.

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By 21:03 on 27.03.2023 Today`s news

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