EPP warns Bulgaria’s Borissov not to include nationalists in coalition

Joseph Daul and Boyko Borissov [Dnevnik]

EPP chief Joseph Daul has warned the leader of the Bulgarian sister party Boyko Borissov, who emerged as victor of the 5 October election, not to include the nationalist “Patriotic Front” in the future governing coalition.

On a visit to Bulgaria, Daul held meetings with the main political forces and said the country needs to form a centre-right government with Boyko Borissov as Prime Minister. He added that the future cabinet should be based on EPP values and that it should not be a promoter of populism or extremism.

According to politicians from the centre-right Reformist Bloc quoted by Dnevnik, the EURACTIV partner in Bulgaria, Daul has strongly advised against including in the future coalition the Patriotic Front, a nationalist force represented for the first time in parliament.

In the 5 October early parliamentary election, Boyko Borisov’s GERB won 32.7% of the vote, more than twice as much as their main Socialist opponents. A total of eight parties entered the the 240-seat parliament:

  • GERB (Citizens for a European Development of Bulgaria): 32.7%, 84 MPs
  • BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party): 15.4%, 39 MPs
  • DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms): 14.8%, 38 MPs
  • Reformist Bloc: 8.9%, 23 MPs
  • Patriotic Front: 7.3%, 19 MPs
  • Bulgaria without censorship: 5.7%, 15 MPs
  • Ataka: 4.5%, 11 MPs
  • ABV (Alternative for a Bulgarian Renaissance): 4.15%, 11 MPs.

If centre-right forces GERB and the Reformist Bloc form a coalition, they will have 107 MEPs, 13 short of the 121 needed to have a majority. The Patriotic Front has been the first force to offer Borrissov support, which he at first appeared ready to accept.

However, it looks like the first statements of the leader of the Patriotic Front Valeri Simeonov in parliament have raised concern in the country and beyond. Simeonov advocated installing missiles on the country’s border with Turkey, introducing Bulgarian language exams for children starting school, as well as sanctions against parents whose children don’t speak Bulgarian.

Borissov admitted that several Western ambassadors had turned to him and asked: “Are these people your future partners?”

Consultations for forming a new government are continuing. 

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