Day of drama as Bulgarian PM Borissov confronts coalition government partners

Written by on October 14, 2016 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Day of drama as Bulgarian PM Borissov confronts coalition government partners

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov called an emergency meeting of his Cabinet and leaders of parties participating in the government, to confront his coalition partners about whether they were for or against him.

The evening Cabinet meeting was the culmination of a day of political drama in Bulgaria, which saw a failed attempt at a special sitting of Parliament, resulting in Borissov lashing out at his own party over that failure, while also singling out the Reformist Bloc over what he described as their dual and contradictory role in government and as opposition.

At the start of the special Cabinet meeting, Borissov accused the Reformist Bloc of “lying” in seeking to put the blame at his door for the controversial “I do not support anyone” option on the ballot papers for Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections.

This option has been criticised as putting the validity of the elections at risk, because its inclusion, provided for in the Electoral Code, puts the methodology of the election at odds with Bulgaria’s constitution.

Earlier, in Parliament Borissov’s GERB party was a major factor in denying the National Assembly a quorum to proceed with the day’s special sitting, called at the initiative of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

This led Borissov to hurry to Parliament in an unscheduled visit, where he upbraided his GERB parliamentary group over events, and made it clear that he wanted special sittings to go ahead where requested.

The consequence is that in the coming week, Parliament will hold two special plenary sittings – in spite of the October 12 vote, backed by GERB, to go into recess until the eve of the presidential elections.

On October 18, at a sitting convened by Dimitar Glavchev – the GERB MP acting as presiding officer while Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva campaigns as the party’s candidate in the presidential elections – the agenda will include scrapping the October 12 recess vote, setting up a temporary committee on the mothballed Belene nuclear power station issue, a debate on the trade agreement between the EU and Canada, and a first reading of amendments to the Electoral Code and to the Excise Duties and Tax Warehouses Act.

At the October 14 special Cabinet meeting, Borissov confronted the Reformist Bloc over their role, saying that Tuesday would be “a day apart”: “You cannot be in the coalition in the Cabinet and in the opposition when in Parliament”.

Meglena Kouneva, a deputy prime minister and leader of a Reformist Bloc constituent party, is understood to have responded to Borissov that “we have your support and are grateful for the results achieved. We have to find a way to continue”.

Earlier, Borissov had told a briefing after meeting his party, “Either the Reformist Bloc has to behave like a coalition government party, or ‘goodbye'”.



About the Author

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015).