Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Unconvincing support for revolutionary changes

Adelina Marini, July 17, 2009

The explanations why GERB (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria of the prime minister-designate Boyko Borisov) prefer to form a minority government might sound like something moral (whatever that means) but, more likely, they can't answer the much more fundamental questions of what is more important - to keep your reputation clean on top of Bulgarian politics and paying the price of greater instability against the background of total political, statehood and economical devastation or to have the courage to govern this same country out of the wreckage, to stabilize it and get it back on the tracks of the normal development of the emerging markets? Yes, that is correct, Bulgaria is included in the category "emerging markets", but unlike other countries in that same category, Bulgaria is becoming more and more unattractive not only for investors bu for its own citizen and companies as well.

And instead of answering to those questions clearly and with strong arguments, the victorious insufficient majority offered the slippery form of receiving support through a memorandum or, as Ivan Kostov (former prime minister) put it very well it is a piece pf paper to read in your spare time. This memorandum requests ATAKA (a nationalist party), Order, Law and Justice of Mr. Yane Yanev (a new unclear formation) and the Blue coalition (a coalition of right opposition parties) to support the following principles: investigation of former governments and putting on trial everyone for whom there is enough evidence, a new Elections code that will take care of every type of elections in Bulgaria, including a referendum, changes in the Political parties legislations, review of the budget and changes in the Constitution.

Thus formulated those principles raise much more questions than give answers. One of them is that is GERB really wants to investigate former governments this might mean all governments, including the one of Ivan Kostov who is a co-chair of the Blue coalition. How then can we expect that the Blue coalition would support such a move? The reaction of Mr. Kostov was quite relevant in this regard. He said that the memorandum requires support for principles and not for decisions and Parliament deals only with decisions. In other words - we will vote "yes", if we decide to.

The reaction of Mr. Yane Yanev was also quite eloquent. He threatened that if a member of his party would ever decide to get involved with the government without the consent of the party leadership, he will be forced to resign. This can only be interpreted as: "we will support you as long as it suits us". But if we remember the political biography of Mr. Yanev, nothing would stop him to turn against GERB and renew his practice to go to the state agency "National security" and offer the exhausted society sensational disclosures of corruption or something else.

Then the prime minister designate Boyko Borisov and his government would have to explain themselves on many front lines and they should better understand soon that each charm has an expiry date.

Another principle that might put the support of OLJ, ATAKA and the Blue coalition to the test is the creation of an Elections Code because, probably, a lot of parties are interested in keeping the status quo of buying of votes and other frauds that actually gave them the chance to be in Parliament. How then GERB would guarantee full support with only 116 MPs of requested 121? And as a recent research showed only the Bulgarian Greens did not buy votes either because they had no money or because they did not want to. Besides, it would be nice some to explain more in details what guarantees there will be that the next government would not change this Code?

A particular risk of losing support present the anti-crisis measures because they would automatically provoke a non-confidence vote because these measures will definitely require "social gains" cuts with which the tripartite government in resign boasted a lot. And the remnants of that government - the BSP (Socialists) and the DPS (the party representing the Turkish minority in Bulgaria) just lie in wait for the first big hardship so as to require a non confidence vote.

The changes in the constitution can also be a source of serious thought for many MPs.

Otherwise there are some quite eloquent sentences in the memorandum which seem to be contradictory as well: "Political party GERB considers the formula of its government as a Political project for the European development of Bulgaria which other partners and other political forces in the 41st Parliament can support in the name of national interests and in compliance with the will of Bulgarian voters. This project will guarantee the successful economic development of the country, the return of confidence of the euro-Atlantic partners and of all Bulgarian citizens. The success of the project would depend on the approval and support of civil society, represented by civil and professional organisations". This sentence brings the mind to the thought that support will be asked from civil organisations but the question how this would be realised stimulates curiosity. Besides, how on Earth the citizens' confidence will be returned since the stability of the government itself is put at risk?

The second sentence is in the end of the 2-page document: "The present memorandum defines the common framework of political consultations for a new government. It must be considered as a basis for discussions among parliamentarian groups and the final document declaring consent for political and parliamentary cooperation". This might mean that, in fact, the future government might not be a minority one or, so as to reflect more precisely the feelings of Mr. Boyko Borisov, the insufficient majority.

The lack of clarity is in a way easy to understand but it is also irresponsible given the expectations of the society. Furthermore, very hard times lie ahead of us which will additionally put at risk the parliamentary support for the measures of the government to tackle the difficult legacy and the economic crisis.

And people, not only the European Commission expect to hear: not only that there are ongoing investigations against this one or that one official, but that is good evidence that will lead to sentences. They will also want to hear who are those people and what will happen to the wealth they earned when in power? What responsibility will all those to whom Boyko Borisov is pointing take?

The questions are, in fact, much more, but those are those to which we expect urgent answers.