GERB has received government-forming mandate, promptly returning it unfulfilled
After We Continue the Change’s Assen Vassilev was unable to form a majority coalition, causing him to return the mandate unfulfilled, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has to pass the opportunity along to the party with the second highest number of votes – GERB.
Step 2 – Second in charge
After the party with the highest number of votes is unsuccessful in forming a majority government, this opportunity is handed to the party that is next in line. In this case, this is Bulgaria’s decade-long hegemon GERB, ruled by the infamous ex-PM Boyko Borissov. Despite their well-known connection with the Bulgarian mafia and other shady and corrupt entities, their popularity remains high enough to win 20% of the vote. The vast majority of the population, however, are highly opposed to them returning to a ruling position within Bulgaria.
Despite Borissov’s megalomania, when it comes to power, he and other higher-ups at his party have repeatedly stated that when Radev hands them the mandate, they will return it unfulfilled.
Immediately after receiving the opportunity, GERB handed it back empty. This is something very unusual for GERB, as they usually don’t follow through with their promises.
Now, it’s President Radev’s turn to pick a third party, which is going to receive the opportunity to form a governing coalition. The most likely choices are ITN, who are the reason why the former quadruple coalition crumbled, and Democratic Bulgaria, who are probably the only ones with even a slither of a chance of forming a functional majority coalition.
Other parties, which the president could pick, but is highly unlikely to do so, are Vazrazhdane (Resurrection), DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms), and BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party). As Vazrazhdane are too pro-Russian even for his standards, they are entirely improbable to be picked as mandate-holders. And even if they were to be picked, they have a null chance of forming a coalition with anyone. DPS won’t be able to form a coalition with anyone besides GERB. This leaves the BSP, which used to be on excellent terms with Radev; however, recently, they have become significantly estranged.
Now, it is time for a third and final round of consultation between the president and the political parties before he makes his verdict on who’s going to receive the third mandate.