Bulgarian Parliament votes Oresharski cabinet into power

With the votes of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), Bulgaria’s 42nd National Assembly voted the socialist-nominated Plamen Oresharski cabinet into power on May 29 2013.

Former ruling party GERB, which has the largest single share of votes in Parliament, were mostly absent during the vote, and Volen Siderov’s Ataka did not vote.

Oresharski’s nomination was voted with 121 votes in favour, including one from GERB, and eight against – all of them from GERB.

A second vote, after GERB MPs returned to the parliamentary floor, saw Oresharski confirmed as Prime Minister with 120 votes in favour and 97 against, all of them from GERB.

In the Parliament elected on May 12, the BSP and MRF together have 120 out of the 240 seats and GERB and Ataka have the other half. The question about whether the quorum of 121 MPs required for the debate and vote on the Oresharski cabinet would be achieved was resolved when Ataka leader Volen Siderov formally registered himself as present, lending the BSP and MRF the required number.

Proceedings started just after 9am and lasted several hours, seeing a series of stormy clashes between, on the one side, GERB leader Boiko Borissov and his deputy Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and, on the other, Oresharski, BSP leader Sergei Stanishev, MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan and others from ranks of the socialists and MRF.

Initially, Borissov led GERB out of the House when Ataka made the quorum possible, but the GERB caucus later returned, for Borissov and Tsvetanov to deliver attacks on the proposed Oresharski cabinet.

A sideshow was the clashes between Siderov and Mestan, coming against a background of Borissov portraying Ataka and the MRF, customarily bitter political enemies, now effectively being in alliance with each other.

Oresharski, prefacing his introduction of the cabinet that he will head as prime minister, said that there should be a review of the role of the state in the economy, and the state should take up more regulatory and controlling duties, but should also give more freedom and entrepreneurship.

He underlined the messages that have been coming from socialist ranks in recent months and weeks, that democracy in Bulgaria and the role of Parliament needed to be “restored” and that the 2009/13 Borissov GERB government had left the country in a sorry state.

Oresharski said that the new government would have to take care of citizens’ rights, oppose crime, end the random use of special surveillance, pay attention to minorities, bring media freedom, government transparency and a dialogue with the “social partners”.

The former finance minister in the 2005/09 government said that the real challenge facing his government would be economy recovery. Traditional sectors in the economy should develop but new technologies should develop as well, he said.

Consistency in economic and financial policy, along with predictability, would mean lower risk and lower interest rates, he said. Unemployment was rising and a new wave of emigration was gaining speed, Oresharski said.

In a lengthy attack on the planned government, Tsvetanov recalled Oresharski’s initial background in centre-right politics, before accepting the post of finance minister in the 2005 socialist-led tripartite coalition. The GERB deputy leader said that Oresharski, as finance minister in 2009, had been silent in the face of the global financial crisis.

Tsvetanov also spoke out, among other things, against socialist plans for the restructuring of the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security.

Addressing President Rossen Plevneliev, who was watching proceedings from Parliament’s public gallery, Tsvetanov said that these restructuring plans were intended to “isolate” the head of state by removing the security agency’s reporting line from the Presidency to the National Assembly.

The vote today also brings to an end the term in office of the caretaker cabinet headed by diplomat Marin Raykov that has had charge of the country since the resignation of the Borissov government took effect on March 13.

The structure and members of the Cabinet voted into office on May 29 consists of:

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Zinaida Zlatanova

Deputy Prime Minister: Vacant

And the ministers of:

Finance – Petar Chobanov

Economy and Energy – Dragomir Stoynev

Transport – Daniel Papazov

Agriculture – Dimitar Grekov

Culture – Petar Stoyanovich

Health – Tanya Andreeva

Interior – Tsvetlin Yovchev

Defence – Angel Naidenov

Foreign Affairs – Kristian Vigenin

Environment – Iskra Mihailova

Youth and Sport – Mariyana Georgieva

Education and Science – Anelia Klisarova

Labour and Social Policy – Hasan Ademov

Investment Planning – Ivan Danov

Regional Development – Desislava Terzieva

(Photo of Oresharski: bsp.bg)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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