April 19. 2024. 8:50

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Bulgaria’s ruling coalition parties fight for high-ranking positions

Bulgaria’s ruling coalition parties on Wednesday began threatening each other with the withdrawal of support for the government amid a battle for top executive posts that could lead to early parliamentary elections alongside European elections in June.

This is due to disputes over which party will nominate a person for the post of foreign minister when the government changes hands in March, as well as the distribution of party quotas in what are supposed to be independent regulatory bodies.

In March, current Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, who is close to the Renew Europe liberals, will have to resign, and former EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (GERB, EPP) will be appointed in his place. The GERB party insists that Gabriel be both prime minister and foreign minister.

GERB leader Boyko Borissov on Wednesday rejected the PP-DB’s political proposals for resolving the dispute.

“For me, what the PP-DB has proposed shows that holding early elections together with the European elections in June is a logical conclusion of this coalition,” Borissov said.

PP-DB insists on sharing the positions in the regulatory bodies with GERB, with the third partner in the DPS leadership (ALDE, Renew) left out of the deal for now. So far, Boyko Borissov has clarified that DPS should be included in the deal to allocate high-level positions.

According to PP-DB co-leader Kiril Petkov, the equal division of the regulatory bodies will ensure mutual control by PP-DB and GERB.

“This government works well, it shows results. Let’s not make political dramas and instability,” Petkov urged.

Bulgaria is one of the most vulnerable countries in Eastern Europe to Russian influence and a key NATO and EU partner in the Black Sea region. The political alternative to the ruling tripartite pro-EU coalition in Sofia is current President Rumen Radev, who has shared some aspects of the Russian narrative on the war in Ukraine and is staunchly opposed to sending military aid to Kyiv.

If Bulgaria’s current ruling coalition collapses, it will provide an opportunity to boost support for the pro-Russian far-right Vazrazhdane party, which has benefited the most from the country’s political crisis, which will last from spring 2021 to early 2023.

(Krassen Nikolov | Euractiv.bg)

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