Potential partners snub Bulgaria vote winner's 'government'

·2-min read
Slavi Trifonov has been a popular singer for decades

A new Bulgarian anti-establishment party led by popular singer Slavi Trifonov, which has claimed the right to form a government after inconclusive weekend polls, was snubbed Tuesday by two parties whose support he had sought.

A nearly complete count of Sunday's vote showed Trifonov's There is Such a People (ITN) party leading with 24.07 percent.

The conservative GERB party of former three-time premier Boyko Borisov was in second place at 23.52 percent.

ITN is projected to win only 65 seats in the 240-seat parliament. But Trifonov has claimed the right to form a government, announced a list of ministers and demanded support from other parties.

His list includes veteran economist and finance expert Nikolay Vasilev as premier and several young ministers with foreign diplomas but without any experience in governance.

Before the vote, the 54-year-old Trifonov said he would count on support from the small right-wing Democratic Bulgaria and left-leaning Stand Up! Mafia Out formations that emerged from last summer's anti-corruption street protests.

They garnered 12.63 percent and 5.01 percent respectively and the three parties would still fall short of a 121-seat majority.

Both Democratic Bulgaria (DB) and Stand Up! Mafia Out snubbed Trifonov's government proposal on Tuesday.

"Obviously, our backing is not sought," DB's co-leader Hristo Ivanov told private bTV television on Tuesday.

He urged ITN "to show common sense and return to dialogue" and start discussing judiciary reforms and other issues that surfaced during last year's protests.

"He has not received a presidential mandate and yet proposes a government... this is not serious," Stand Up! Mafia Out co-leader Nikolay Hadjigenov told AFP late Monday.

After the final official results are out, President Rumen Radev will ask the party which won the most votes to form a government.

Trifonov has said his party aims to govern alone as coalition "has become a dirty word in recent years".

The 54-year-old, who has spent decades entertaining Bulgarians with pop-folk tunes and traditional songs, suffers from health problems and has avoided putting himself forward as a potential premier.

Trifonov had said he would not work with any of the established players -- GERB, Socialists BSP, or the Turkish Minority MRF party.

BSP leader Kornelia Ninova however also snapped Tuesday that BSP "will not back Slavi Trifonov's proposed cabinet."

Analysts criticised Trifonov's move.

"This cabinet is a form of twisting the other parties' arms," said analyst Ognyan Minchev from the independent think-tank Institute for Regional and International Studies.

"Slavi Trifonov poses to other political parties a very clear dilemma -- you either support what I propose or you will be responsible for another snap election," another analyst, Boris Popivanov, said.

Sunday's vote was called because no party managed to form a government after the last election in April.

The latest poll was marred by low turnout.


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