Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, right, shakes hands with Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova as he hands her a mandate to form a new government at a ceremony in the Bulgarian Presidency in Sofia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. AP
``We have done everything necessary to fulfil the third mandate,'' party leader Kornelia Ninova said, adding that despite setting clear national priorities at the talks with the other parties, ``there was not enough will to form a working government.''
It was the third and final opportunity to form a Cabinet in this parliament. The European Union's poorest member is now heading toward elections yet again.
Before the Socialist attempt at forming a coalition, the two strongest groups in Bulgaria's parliament _ the center-right GERB party and the reformist We Continue the Change party _ had each tried and failed to find enough support to lead their own governments.
President Rumen Radev will now dissolve parliament, appoint a caretaker government and schedule another election, to be held most likely in April.
Analysts expect another election would again produce a fragmented parliament that will struggle to find a compromise and cobble together a working coalition government. The continuing political crisis is expected to put a brake to Bulgaria's plans to join the euro zone at the end of this year, as well as the timely receipt of billions of euros in EU recovery funds.