Bulgaria anti-elite party drops PM nominee in bid to form government

Slavi Trifonov, TV host and singer and leader of "There is Such a People" party is seen in this handout picture in Sofia
Slavi Trifonov, TV host and singer and leader of "There is Such a People" party is seen in this handout picture in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 30, 2020. Picture taken November 30, 2020. 7/8 TV/Handout via REUTERS

SOFIA, July 15 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's new anti-elite party There Is Such a People (ITN), which won Sunday's election by a small margin, said on Thursday it would withdraw its nominee for prime minister in a bid to win support for a new government.

In a surprising move a day after the vote, ITN leader Slavi Trifonov said he would not hold coalition talks but would propose a minority government led by Nikolay Vassilev, 51, a former economy and administration minister, as prime minister.

"I understand that the country does not need instability and new elections... We, as the party which has won the last election, will propose very soon a new prime minister and with a revised list of ministers," Trifonov, an entertainer-turned-politician, wrote on his Facebook page.

He promised more details on Friday.

Bulgaria is facing a political impasse with no clear prospects of forming a stable cabinet in a fractured parliament after the election, the country's second in three months.

The result could be prolonged political uncertainty or even a new parliamentary election, which would hamper the country's effort to tap the EU's coronavirus recovery funds.

Political analysts said ITN's move was a step in the right direction but not enough to gain support for a working government.

"It is much more important to build a working majority," said Rumiana Kolarova, political science lecturer at Sofia University.

Critics have accused Trifonov, whose party campaigned against graft-prone political elites, of proposing a vague agenda and questioned his will to uproot entrenched corruption in the European Union's poorest member state.

ITN's potential allies, two small anti-graft parties, have refused to grant Trifonov blanket support without talks.

The Socialists also refused support as did former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's centre-right GERB, which expects to stay in opposition.

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.