A special sitting of Bulgaria’s National Assembly, called for October 14 in spite of Parliament having voted itself a recess of almost a month for the presidential elections, failed to happen as Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB and other parties denied it a quorum to begin proceedings.
The special sitting had been called as a result of a petition initiated by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which has been irked by the long adjournment which the parties behind it insisted on as a means to prevent the plenary of Parliament being used for campaigning ahead of the November presidential elections.
On the morning of October 14, there were three attempts to confirm a quorum – by MPs from GERB, its minority coalition partner the Patriotic Front and opposition party Ataka declined to formally register as present.
For a quorum, 121 MPs out of the National Assembly’s total 240 need to register as present. At the first attempt, there were 91 registrations, at the second, 96, and at the third, 95.
The special sitting had had three agenda items. The first was to overturn the month-long adjournment for the presidential elections. The second was to vote on the trade deal between Canada and the European Union. The third was to hold Question Time.
Seventy-three MPs, 25 more than the minimum required, had signed the petition for the special sitting on October 14.
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said that her party would initiate a new petition for a special sitting of the National Assembly.
Mustafa Karadaya, of the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, blamed the government for the lack of the quorum and reiterated his party’s call for early parliamentary elections.
Parliament is currently being presided over by GERB’s Dimitar Glavchev, in the absence of Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva, who is GERB’s candidate in the November 2016 presidential elections.
Tsacheva is one of 21 candidates in the presidential elections. Should no candidate get 50+1 of the votes cast on November 6, a second round will be held on November 13 between the two candidates who get the most votes at the first round.
The scheduled elections are being held to choose a successor to Rossen Plevneliev, elected on a GERB ticket in 2011 but who has not made himself available for re-election.