The sitting of Bulgaria’s Parliament that had been scheduled for October 4 2013 was cancelled because of the latest failure to raise a quorum to enable proceedings to start.
The National Assembly had been due to hold Question Time, with 14 cabinet ministers to answer a total of 50 questions.
Last week was similarly dogged by failed attempts to secure a quorum, as centre-right opposition party GERB used the absence of Ataka to deny a quorum in a move that GERB leader was intended to illustrate the dependence of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government on Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalist party.
On October 4, socialist Speaker of Parliament Mihail Mikov made his first attempt to check whether there was a quorum.
Only 117 out of 240 MPs registered electronically as present. Fifteen minutes later, there was another attempt, showing 110 MPs are officially present.
In the second attempt, Mikov called on tellers to count the number of members actually in the House, a move that when used previously caused controversy, with GERB claiming that this is unconstitutional and only the electronic voting system may be used to count MPs.
When Mikov asked the tellers to begin counting, those GERB MPs who were sitting in the Assembly got up and left.
Questions that had been on the Order Paper including one to Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev about alleged improper use of covert surveillance when his predecessor, GERB’s Tsvetan Tsvetanov, was minister; one to the Transport Minister about state railways BDZ, appointment of employees at Danube Bridge 2 and digital television coverage; and questions to the Heath Ministry about medicine prices, emergency and medical benefits.
On October 3, President Rossen Plevneliev publicly criticised the goings-on in the National Assembly in recent days, saying that Parliament was democratically elected but was focusing more on “partisan bickering and procedural tricks” rather than on citizens’ problems, Plevneliev said. “I hope this will change,” he said.