Elections yet again: what's going on in Bulgaria?

Originally the office of prime minister was to rotate between the liberal PP-DB and the conservative Gerb-SDS alliance. Now the cabinet formation process has failed completely in Bulgaria. Nikolai Denkov (PP-DB), who has been prime minister for the last nine months, immediately returned a renewed mandate to form a government on Wednesday. Since the populist ITN is also not expected to be able to form a government, the country now faces its sixth parliamentary elections in three years.

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Deutsche Welle (BG) /

Too bad after all the good work

The Bulgarian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle laments the collapse:

“Few will now recall that this government achieved a great deal in just nine months: it implemented constitutional reforms, ended the energy dependence on Russia and brought the country to the threshold of Schengen and the Eurozone. But instead of building on this, all that has been achieved now threatens to be reversed. ... The PP-DB could have continued to govern with Gerb if, after the constitutional amendments, the new justice law had been passed and the elections for the new members of the Supreme Judicial Council and the supervisory authorities could have been held without political influence. Without this, all the reforms would have remained nothing but paper tigers [under a Gerb prime minister].”

e-vestnik (BG) /

Borisov needs power to survive

e-vestnik says this is exactly what Gerb leader and former prime minister Boyko Borisov, who has faced repeated accusations of corruption, wanted:

“New elections are the best option for him. Reforms will be postponed, as will the election of members of the Supreme Judicial Council, the regulatory authorities and new appointments to the secret services. This way he can continue to control a large part of the state. ... You can see - literally - that he is losing more and more influence as time passes. Day by day he's getting thinner (when before he got chubbier and chubbier). His main worry is that without him there an attorney general will be elected who will then take him to court. That's what the established media are keeping quiet about. It's like the elephant in the room.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

European perspective hangs in the balance

The ongoing political instability puts the goal of joining the Eurozone in 2025 at risk, says Michael Martens, Balkans correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“In addition to the Maastricht criteria, the overall political impression also plays a role in being allowed to join the Eurozone. And this impression is not good in the case of Bulgaria, even if the coalition in Sofia, which has now failed after only nine months, has initiated some important judicial reforms. The country's second central goal, full accession to the Schengen zone, is also in jeopardy. If the pro-European parties in Sofia continue with their infighting, Bulgaria will probably remain where it is better off under such circumstances for the time being: outside the Schengen area and the Eurozone.”