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Bulgaria’s political crisis: Country faces Led Zeppelin options

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Led Zeppelin had it, in the lyrics: “Yes, there are two paths you can go by/But in the long run/There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” This may well describe the two paths that Bulgaria faces now, out of its political crisis, or into a deeper one. Not quite a stairway to heaven, mayhaps.

Bulgaria may find itself, in remote possibility, with a minority government formed by its ultra-nationalist parties. Or it may, as one reliable poll suggests most Bulgarians want, go to the appointment of a caretaker government and subsequent early parliamentary elections.

There’s a sign on the wall

But she wants to be sure

‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.

Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev has largely obtained clarity from the Constitutional Court on what he can and cannot do in the wake of the resignation of Boiko Borissov’s government. In his final three months in office, he can appoint a caretaker cabinet, if all bids to form an elected government fail. He cannot dissolve Parliament. He cannot name an election date; that is for his successor, Roumen Radev, in office from January 22, to do.

Plevneliev, it seems, is determined to avoid having – for the third time – to appoint a caretaker cabinet.

This is why there is now so much talk in Bulgaria about the possibility of a new government formed by the minority nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, and its newlywed political partner, Volen Siderov’s Ataka, with the tacit support of Borissov’s GERB.

Patriotic Front co-leader Valeri Simeonov, before the cameras, looked almost happy, somewhat inscrutable, seemingly optimistic, rather cunning. Has Simeonov already received assurances of support for what may otherwise seem a Quixotic political adventure?

Your head is humming and it won’t go

In case you don’t know,

The piper’s calling you to join him.

Could the Patriotic Front make a deal with the centre-right Reformist Bloc, or parts of it, recruit on board a minority force like the Bulgarian Democratic Centre (ready to prolong their parliamentary life lest they face electoral oblivion) and most of all, get the tacit support of Borissov?

What will those Bulgarians, now seemingly frustrated with these antics, make of it all? According to those November 29 Alpha Research poll results, they want a caretaker cabinet and early elections. If the poll is true, they disagree with the point of view of Plevneliev, who wants a Parliament in place, to carry out pressing tasks – in judicial reform, in the energy sector, among others – rather than evaporating into being the latest of Bulgaria’s political footnotes.

And if you listen very hard

The tune will come to you at last.

When all are one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll.

What of Bulgaria’s electorate, to be called – perhaps – the polls once more, in the spring of 2017?

There’s a feeling I get

When I look to the West,

And my spirit is crying for leaving.

Immortal, indeed, the lyrics of Led Zeppelin..ΙΒΝΑ

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