Bulgaria coalition partner urges early election by year-end

The ethnic Turkish MRF party made its appeal after the main governing party, the Socialists, performed badly in last month's European Parliament elections

Bulgaria coalition partner urges early election by year-end

World Bulletin/News Desk

The junior partner in Bulgaria's ruling coalition called on Thursday for early elections by the end of this year, raising the prospect of renewed political instability in the European Union's poorest member state.

The ethnic Turkish MRF party made its appeal after the main governing party, the Socialists, performed badly in last month's European Parliament elections, which were won in Bulgaria by the main opposition centre-right GERB party.

"We believe such (national) elections should happen by the end of the year," MRF leader Luytvi Mestan told a news conference. "A full term of the cabinet is not a way towards stability."

The Socialist-led coalition's four-year mandate runs until 2017 but it lacks a majority in parliament where it has had to rely on votes from a small nationalist party to pass laws. It also faced daily street protests last year which further eroded its ability to tackle Bulgaria's economic challenges.

GERB won 30 percent of the vote in the May 25 European elections, well ahead of the Socialists' 19 percent, and has renewed its call for the government's resignation. The centrist MRF won 17 percent, much more than expected.

GERB, whose last government fell in February 2013 amid protests over high utility bills, plans to tender a fifth no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's cabinet later on Thursday. It stands no chance of success.

"LESS RISKY OPTION"

Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev has so far dismissed calls for a snap election, but has rapped the government for delaying reforms and failing to speed up economic growth.

Mestan said he was also ready to discuss other options with the Socialists, suggesting that an early election could be delayed until next summer or could be held together with local elections set for the autumn of 2015. But he ruled out the possibility that the government would serve its full term.

"There is sense in continuing to stay in power only if the government is able to transform its survival mode into governing effectively," Mestan said.

"We believe an early election in the last week of November or early December is the less risky option."

Some political analysts also favoured early elections.

"Bulgaria needs a working government that is able to deal with the problems ... Despite the political turbulence (implied by early elections), it is better to try and form a new government," said Kiril Avramov, a political analyst at the New Bulgarian University.

"That will most likely be a coalition government again, which will still be better, as everyone loses when there is a stalemate," he said.

Last Mod: 05 Haziran 2014, 13:29
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