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  • Borislav Ivanov

Kiril Petkov, Bulgaria's ex-prime minister, is attempting a comeback as head of the minority governm

In the midst of Bulgaria's never-ending political instability, the two major parties of the deposed reformist government have proposed a minority administration that would seek backing from the opposition in parliament.

The two quintessential parties of Bulgaria's deposed coalition government, "We Continue the Change" and Democratic Bulgaria, declared on Wednesday that if given the mandate by the President, they would propose a minority government.

"Since the overthrow of our government, we have been in a political deadlock. There has been no vision, no strategy, and no genuine coalition negotiations since then. Bulgaria is in a political vacuum," said "We Continue the Change" leader Kiril Petkov, who served as Prime Minister from December 2021 to June 2022.

He said that the two parties would present a bundle of draft legislation and modifications to parliament for approval.

Petkov's administration was deposed in June, and Bulgaria was forced to hold a new election, which saw the restoration of the center-right GERB party despite record-low voter participation.

President Rumen Radev is expected to hand over the mandate to GERB in the coming days, but its leader, ex-PM Boyko Borissov, lacks the necessary coalition allies. In such a scenario, the mandate would quickly pass to Petkov's "We Continue the Change" party, which came second. Petkov's and Borissov's parties both lack the necessary support to form a majority in the 240-member parliament.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which has ties to oligarchs and is subject to international sanctions, is GERB's sole solid friend.

Only Democratic Bulgaria, with its pro-EU, pro-West stance, is a potential partner for "We Continue the Change." It is uncertain if such a government would have opposition support, and the proposal comes as GERB attempts to recast itself as a viable partner to its opponents.

If none of these possibilities are pursued, Bulgaria will have its sixth general election in two years.

Bulgaria has been embroiled in political upheaval for many years. Citizens' discontent with Borissov's long-term leadership of the GERB peaked in 2020, and three elections were held in 2021.

GERB won the April 2021 election but was defeated in July by a new anti-establishment party, "There's Such a People," and later by Petkov's party, a product of the interim ministry.

Petkov formed a tenuous alliance with Democratic Bulgaria, "There Is Such a People," and the Bulgarian Socialist Party. However, the pro-Moscow Socialists grew unsatisfied with Petkov's support for Ukraine, and President Rumen Radev, who has been connected with various pro-Kremlin statements over the years, became critical as well.

The alliance was later abandoned by "There is such a people." This was purportedly due to Petkov's gentler tone toward North Macedonia on historical disagreements between the two countries but is now largely seen as an effort to shift attention away from ITN’s links to the criminal underworld.

WCC and Democratic Bulgaria recently rejected planned changes to the electoral legislation that might result in a return to paper ballot voting in elections.

The two parties consider the restoration of traditional voting practices as an opportunity for GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and the Bulgarian Socialist Party to conduct vote fraud. Both parties organized a rally against the measure in Sofia last Friday, which was attended by thousands of people.

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