A center-right coalition in Bulgaria is tapped to form a new government

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Monday tapped the largest group in parliament, the center-right GERB-UDF coalition, to form the country’s new government.

Accepting the mandate, Prime Minister-designate Rosen Zhelyazkov presented a proposal for a Cabinet and asked the president to send it to parliament for approval.

The 56-year-old lawyer and former parliament speaker, who has served in different ministerial positions in previous governments, said that the new Cabinet was “a team of experts and seasoned politicians from GERB”. He outlined stabilizing of public finances as a priority and stressed the need for continuity in Bulgaria’s European perspective.

The GERB-UDF coalition finished first in the June elections but only has 68 legislators in the 240-seat National Assembly. The coalition picked Zhelyazkov to head a new government over its leader, Boyko Borissov, who led three governments between 2009 and 2021, when his third Cabinet resigned following major anti-corruption protests.

Trying to find coalition partners in the fragmented legislature, Borissov said immediately after the vote that he didn’t want to be prime minister and invited his political opponents for talks.

But apart from the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms with 47 lawmakers, no other group promised support for the government, which needs to be backed by a simple majority in parliament.

The reformist We Continue the Change party-led coalition, which was created several years ago with the aim of opposing and defeating Borissov’s corruption-tainted government, announced on Thursday that it wouldn’t support a Cabinet with the participation of GERB.

Parliament is expected to vote on the government proposal later this week. If GERB-UDF fails to garner sufficient backing for its Cabinet, Radev will hand an exploratory mandate to the runnerup in the elections.

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