Bulgaria’s National Assembly, in a vote on October 2 2013, rejected opposition centre-right GERB’s motion of no confidence in the Bulgarian Socialist Party government.
The vote proceeded after a quorum was secured after failed attempts the previous week when ultra-nationalists Ataka and former prime minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party absented themselves from proceedings.
The outcome of the October 2 vote was 86 in favour, 111 against and 20 abstentions. For the vote to be approved, 121 out of the total membership of 240 MPs would have had to have supported it.
GERB tabled the motion on September 19 on the grounds of the non-functioning of the Investment Planning Ministry, voted into existence after the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which ran second in the May 2013 elections, got the mandate to form a government after GERB was unable to do so.
In three days of drama from September 25 to 27, there were procedural twists and turns in the National Assembly as GERB declined to register as officially present, in what Borissov said was a demonstration of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government’s dependence on Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists.
Most or all – reports vary – of Siderov’s parliamentary group was in Brussels during that time, in a visit in itself controversial not only for its effect on parliamentary proceedings in Sofia but also because of events in the Belgian city where the EU has its headquarters.
A major point of controversy in the course of the saga of the no-confidence motion, the first to be tabled against the current government, was when socialist Speaker Mihail Mikov declared on September 26 that there was a quorum, on the basis of a head count in the House by tellers instead of using Parliament’s electronic voting system. GERB said at the time that it would object to this move in the Constitutional Court.
On September 27, GERB tabled a motion calling for Mikov’s resignation as Speaker. Parliament was due to vote on this motion on October 2.
After voting on the no confidence motion, members of the cabinet were led into the House by Plamen Oresharski, appointed in May to sit in the prime minister’s chair in the BSP government. The arrival of the group was greeted with applause from the benches of the BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, while from GERB benches came chants of “оставка” (resignation).