Bulgaria faces prospect of sixth election in three years amidst cabinet formation deadlock

Bulgaria is on the brink of its sixth general election in just three years following another unsuccessful round of negotiations to establish a new government cabinet on Wednesday.

The second-largest parliamentary group, part of the pro-Western liberal-conservative PP-DB alliance, returned the government mandate it had received from head of state Rumen Radev on Wednesday.

This marks the second time efforts to form a new cabinet have faltered, with Deputy Prime Minister Maria Gabriel of the center-right coalition partner Gerb-SDS terminating talks with the PP-DB on Sunday.

The country’s regulations state that there are three attempts allowed to form a new cabinet before new elections must be called.

The outgoing government, headed by Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, resigned as scheduled at the start of March to facilitate a rotation in the prime minister’s office, as per the agreement reached in 2023 between the government’s pro-Western adversaries Gerb-SDS and PP-DB.

Gabriel, a former EU commissioner, was set to become head of government and Denkov her deputy.

The political rivals were however unable to agree on further reforms and personnel in order to continue their coalition.

On Wednesday, Denkov justified his alliance’s decision to return the mandate to form a new government by saying that there was no longer a majority in parliament for the government programme and reforms agreed with Gerb-SDS.

The EU country is now facing its sixth general election in half as many years.

In view of controversial constitutional amendments, it was initially unclear whether a new election could coincide with the European elections in Bulgaria on June 9.

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