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Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Monday appointed the largest group in parliament, the center-right GERB-UDF coalition, to form the country’s new government. Accepting the mandate, Prime Minister-designate Rosen Zhelyazkovpresented a proposal for a Cabinet and requested the president to forward it to parliament for approval.

The 56-year-old lawyer and former parliament speaker, who has held various ministerial positions in previous governments, described the new Cabinet as “a team of experts and seasoned politicians from GERB.” He emphasized stabilizing public finances and maintaining continuity in Bulgaria’s European perspective as key priorities.

The GERB-UDF coalition emerged first in the June elections but holds only 68 seats in the 240-seat National Assembly. The coalition chose Zhelyazkov to lead the new government over its leader, Boyko Borissov, who served as prime minister in three governments between 2009 and 2021. Borissov’s third Cabinet resigned following major anti-corruption protests.

Seeking coalition partners in the fragmented legislature, Borissov stated immediately after the vote that he did not wish to be prime minister and invited his political opponents for talks. However, aside from the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms with 47 lawmakers, no other group has promised support for the government, which needs a simple majority in parliament.

The reformist We Continue the Change party-led coalition, established several years ago to oppose and defeat Borissov’s corruption-tainted government, announced on Thursday that it would not support a Cabinet involving GERB.

Parliament is expected to vote on the government proposal later this week. If GERB-UDF fails to secure sufficient backing for its Cabinet, Radev will hand an exploratory mandate to the runner-up in the elections.

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