(Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria launched a new attempt to form a majority-backed government to find a way out of a years-long political crisis despite a wiretap scandal that blocked a power-sharing deal between the main parties. 

Former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s We continue the Change party received a mandate from President Rumen Radev on Monday to form a ruling coalition and end a cycle of five inconclusive elections in two years. 

Petkov’s premier-designate, professor and former minister Nikolai Denkov, is seeking an agreement with the Gerb party, which won an April ballot but failed to clinch enough support to rule.

The two factions had already agreed to form a joint government, exchanging prime ministers every nine months in an effort to end the turmoil that has hindered the country’s plans to join the Schengen area and adopt the euro next year.

But a leaked recording of a conversation from a meeting of Petkov’s party, allegedly showing a strategy of administrative appointments following consultations with foreign embassies, scuppered that deal. 

The party was also depicted as discussing efforts to replace the management of all secret services while isolating both Gerb. Radev and Gerb’s premier-designate — former European Union Commissioner Mariya Gabriel — said Saturday she’s freezing the cabinet talks.

On Monday, Radev urged Denkov to reconsider forming a government “due to the torpedoing of the Bulgarian sovereignty, the defamation and the planned purge in the services and the public administration” in the wiretaps. The mandate “is already discredited,” he said.

The nearly five-hour conversation was leaked by a lawmaker allied to Petkov, who didn’t reject its authenticity but denied wrongdoing. 

Petkov took office in late 2021 after several elections that put an end to more than a decade of on-and-off rule by Gerb’s leader, former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Petkov vowed to end corruption and deepen his country’s EU integration, but his government collapsed after eight months and a cabinet appointed by Radev has been in power since August.

Denkov has vowed to continue negotiations. He will now have a week to find backing for his cabinet. If he fails, Radev will give another party of his choice the last try before another election.

“Bulgaria needs a stable government,” Denkov said, adding that he hopes to have a regular cabinet approved next week. “A government that will solve the problems of the people and to advance decisively Bulgaria’s European path.”

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