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Bulgaria’s GERB withdraws from negotiations to form government

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Bulgaria’s largest party, GERB, has pulled out of negotiations to form a new government, despite an earlier agreement with the PP-DB to nominate former European Commissioner Maria Gabriel as prime minister, the party said on Sunday.

The country’s two main political formations had agreed to replace the current prime minister, Nikolai Denkov (Renew Europe, PP-DB), with Maria Gabriel (EPP, GERB) in an unprecedented change of government for Bulgaria, but this appears to have failed.

This means that Bulgaria is heading for its sixth general election in three years, causing political instability that could damage the country’s efforts to join the eurozone and achieve full Schengen membership.

“Everything is over. After the elections, we will restart (negotiations),” announced Denitsa Sacheva of GERB’s negotiating team after the end of negotiations on Sunday. The party announced that it was pulling out of negotiations with the PP-DB, citing disputes over political control of some ministries.

“This political blackmail, which was exercised against our party, it’s high time this should be stopped”, commented Denitsa Sacheva, pointing out that the “blackmail” was coming from the PP-DB.

Gabriel claims that GERB and the PP-DB do not differ on the major topics related to the country’s governance – the fight against corruption, the reform of the security services and judicial reform.

Dimitar Ganev, a political expert from the sociological agency Trend, commented on Sunday that the early parliamentary elections should be combined with those for the European Parliament.

If this does not happen, voter turnout will be very low due to the fatigue of the Bulgarian electorate.

He said that after the elections, the same parties should probably negotiate to form a government because, at the moment, they have no political alternative.

(Krassen Nikolov | Euractiv.bg)

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