New parliament to convene on 19 April
Next cabinet is expected to be formed in early May, talks continue
13 April, 2017
The 44th National Assembly is set to have its debut session on the first Wednesday after Easter, according to President Rumen Radev’s decree issued 7 April for the parliament to be convened on 19 April. The 44th National Assembly will begin its first and ceremonial session at exactly 10am, gathering lawmakers from all five political parties and organisations that cleared the 4% entry barrier at the last elections in - GERB, BSP, the United Patriots, MRF and “Volya” (Will).
Meanwhile, negotiations between GERB and the United Patriots on forming a coalition government are still in progress. After the third round of talks on 7 April, it was announced that the two parties will have finished discussing the government programme and dividing ministerial posts by the opening session of the new parliament. They have already agreed on Boyko Borisov being at the helm of the cabinet once again and not initiating snap elections in the next four years without the consent of the coalition partner. It remains unclear how the ministerial posts will be divided but Borisov is adamant in his stance that the United Patriots should be active participants in the country’s governance and not simply its “supporters”.
After the third round of discussions, which lasted over 4 hours, it emerged that the two parties have, for the time being, agreed to disagree on several points in the government programme of the future coalition.
“We will work together but there will be areas in which we will not have consensus,” explained Vladislav Goranov. Those will be introduced to parliament for debate. One example is the plurality voting system on which GERB and the United Patriots found they could not agree and so decided to move on form that topic. Boyko Borisov’s party has been insisting for months that Bulgaria should turn to a 100% plurality voting system, with the winners decided in two rounds, a move supported by Bulgarians in the last referendum. However, the Patriots are in favour of a version of Germany’s hybrid voting system. “We do not have to be in accord on every issue,” said Krasimir Karakachanov, adding that the matter of the voting system cannot derail the coalition.
During a meeting on 11 April, GERB and the United Patriots reached an agreement on pensions, the most contentious topic in their cabinet talks. The news of the breakthrough came from Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Valeri Simeonov, who refused to elaborate on the subject and provide concrete numbers, saying that there will be no announcements before the future coalition government’s programme strategy is drawn up in its entirety.