Although it won the most votes, PM Boyko Borissov’s ruling party GERB ended up entirely isolated in the new Parliament, which was formed following the regular Parliamentary elections on April 4. The new kingmaker is the party There Is Such a People led by showman Stanislav Trifonov, which came out second in its firs time ever running in elections, and overtook Korneliya Ninova’s Bulgarian Socialist Party.
This Parliament will likely be one of the shortest in Bulgaria’s recent history. After three terms as PM for Boyko Borissov and 12 years leading the country, his party is thought of as toxic and deemed an undesirable partner for a coalition, while the so-called parties of the protests TISP, Democratic Bulgaria, Rise up! Thugs Out! have even set out to root out the corruptive model established by GERB.
BSP which took a heavy blow on these elections, pledged it will support a cabinet led by Trifonov wif he demolished the "parallel state". The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) – the party of the Turkish ethnic minority, thought of as GERB’s behind-the-scenes puppet master - promised the same – apparently looking to position itself in the new political reality.
President Roumen Radev will hold consultations on Monday with all six Parliament parties before he formally hands the mandate to form a government to the party won the most votes – GERB. This mandate, however, will most likely fail, despite Borissov decision to not to propose himself for PM. In the first time in GERB’s history, the party will nominate someone other than Borissov for PM – Daniel Mitov – a pro Euro Atlantic former foreign minister in Borissov’s second government between 2014 and 2017, who developed his political career in pro-reformist right wing liberal parties but is now a member of GERB.
The party of the showman Slavi Trifonov signaled that it might return the mandate for forming a cabinet, which will likely lead to the third and last party that the president can hand the mandate to – BSP – to do the same.
In this scenario the Parliament will be dissolved and new elections will be held, this time organized by a provisional government, appointed by President Rouen Radev.
This is the least desired turn of events as far as Borissov is concerned. Last summer, amid multi-thousands anti-corruption protests against the government and the Prosecutor General, Borissov refused to resign to avoid a provisional government of President Roumen Radev.
Now Borissov is making desperate and chaotic moves to save the situation. He proposed a to Trifonov’s TISP to work together with GERB to dismantle the current proportional electoral system in Bulgaria and replace it with an entirely majoritarian system. This reform is the central mission around which TISP was established, and served as the purpose for the party’s exsistence, after the popular showman organized a referendum asking the question in 2016.
Trifonov established his party in 2019 after his contract with the private TV network bTV expired. Today, installing a majoritarian electoral system and cutting the political parties’ subsidy to one lev per vote are central priorities to TISP. Its MPs are hardly known by the public and have apparently been instructed not to give statements to the media – an attitude shared by all of TISP’s higher management – made up of Trifonov’s writers. The only channel for communicating TISP’s plans is their party TV station – 7/8 – a cable TV station, which Trifonov launched in 2019 and where he moved his show to after bTV.
Trifonov’s party has a majority to form a government based on the distribution of the parties in Parliament, where on the first day TISP’s nomination for speaker of Parliament of Iva Miteva was supported by all parties except GERB – and got 163 votes. Which means Trifonov has a constitutional majority as well. But he appears to be planning to pass on the opportunity to form a government. He announced Friday that it is now more important "for GERB to disappear from Bulgarian political life". He interpreted GERB’s move to table a bill to Parliament to install a majoritarian electoral system as a trick by Borissov’s party devised to win more time in Parliament.
"But GERB will not win time. They are a toxic party, which must vanish from the field of Bulgarian political life. And in case of a secure, calm and confident Parliament, what TISP was made to do – namely introduce a majoritarian electoral system – will happen immediately. Everything in its time," the showman wrote on his Facebook page.
On the night of the elections, he announced he will be going in quarantine because of Covid, which was why he was sworn in as MP online. Boyko Borissov announced he will not become an MP and vacated his seat in Parliament, while a long time before the elections had decided to speak to communicate with the public via live streams on his Facebook page.
This way the main political clash in the country took place on social media, where parallel monologues are being carried out.
The atmosphere in the new Parliament is at times surrealistic, as Trifonov’s MPs provoke those of Borissov with statements similar to those one could hear in their skits for their TV show, and called him cartoonish names from the floor of parliament, descriptive of Borissov’s passionto drive around the country in his SUV. GERB’s MPs managed to sabotage an important hearing of the minister of finance by shouting and banging onthe benches in the chamber.
The new majority quickly set up a committee to inspect Borissov’s governments spending for the last ten years and look for misuses and violations.
For the time being the public is watching the political reality, taking place in the midst of the growing coronavirus crisis and the economic hardships for a large part of businesses, especially medium and small - with high interest. This could lead to the end of the Borissov age but it is entirely unclear what interests lay behind the players who are on their way to remove him.
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