One MP from ultra-nationalist party Ataka registered as present in Parliament on May 29, providing a quorum for the vote on the proposed cabinet of Plamen Oresharski, but Boiko Borissov led his GERB caucus in a walkout from the National Assembly.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms, backers of the proposed Oresharski government, together have 120 out of 240 seats in Parliament. For proceedings to begin, 121 votes were needed for a quorum.
Ataka had been playing its cards close to its chest as to whether it would provide the needed vote for the quorum, while GERB had signalled in advance that it would not participate in proceedings.
Volen Siderov led his MPs into the Assembly around 9am, the scheduled starting time for the sitting, but made no comment to waiting journalists.
All eyes were on the electronic voting board. The moment that it registered 121 present, there was enthusiastic applause from the BSP and MRF benches, and GERB – as one – got up and left.
Outside the chamber, Borissov told journalists, “from here on out, this government is irremovable thanks to Volen Siderov.” He said that Speaker Mihail Mikov had waited nearly two minutes for there to be a quorum.
“We left the room to emphasise that these three parties – Ataka, the MRF and BSP – are one and combined to choose the government,” Borissov said.
In the public gallery, proceedings were being watched by President Rossen Plevneliev, foreign diplomats and religious leaders. In the seats in the National Assembly reserved for the cabinet were Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Marin Raykov and members of his caretaker cabinet.
On May 23, Plevneliev handed the BSP, which 11 days earlier ran second in the parliamentary elections, a mandate to seek to form a government after GERB declined a mandate, acknowledging that Borissov’s party would not be able to win parliamentary approval for a cabinet.