This Wednesday was one of two working days in Bulgaria amidst national holidays (the other is Friday), and it was filled with political news. President Rumen Radev passed the third and final mandate to form a cabinet to BSP. As was expected, the party's leader Kornelia Ninova gave it back. "The new political entities have declared that they would not support our government, even expertly, and we do not have an objective opportunity to form a cabinet," said Ninova. So what's next:
Parliament is to dissolve on May 11, new elections to be held on July 11
Next week, Rumen Radev will issue decrees to dissolve the National Assembly, appoint a caretaker government, and set the date for new elections within two months of the date of the dissolution of parliament. The president will also issue a decree appointing the new Central Electoral Commission (CEC), which will start working immediately to prepare for and conduct the elections. "If we reach the same stalemate after these elections and a cabinet cannot be formed, Bulgaria could fall not only into a political crisis but also a constitutional one," warned President Rumen Radev.
Covid-relief measures extended until June
Many of the socio-economic measures related to Covid-19 were budgeted until April this year. To extend them until June, Borissov's third cabinet (in resignation) has been using reserves and revising the budget piecemeal. On Wednesday - the last meeting of the current cabinet, the Council of Ministers agreed on an additional 240 million levs to be allocated for the continuation of five pandemic-relief measures, including the employee retention program known as the 60/40 scheme, and other employment schemes. There are also suggestions to extend some of the measures until the end of the year, which would require a full budget revision to redistribute government finance.
Acibadem City Clinic buys Serbian hospital chain
The largest (and only) foreign investor in medical institutions in Bulgaria - the Acibadem City Clinic group, is to acquire 70% of the shares of Bel Medic Group - Belgrade. The price of the deal has not been announced, but it includes a hospital and five medical centers in the Serbian capital. Thus, Serbia becomes the fourth country the Turkish Acibadem has entered after Bulgaria, Macedonia, and the Netherlands. After the acquisition, the Acibadem brand will have 22 hospitals in five countries with 4,200 beds, with the largest presence being in Turkey, followed by Bulgaria with three clinics.