Being there: Bulgaria’s parliamentary quorum ‘hostage’ drama

After the latest incident in which a sitting of Bulgaria’s Parliament was aborted because of a lack of a quorum, centre-right opposition GERB has vowed to continue to refuse to make up the numbers in insufficient MPs from the other three parties are present.

Under former prime minister Boiko Borissov, GERB has conducted various forms of boycott of the 42nd National Assembly, elected in May and in which Borissov’s party has the largest single share of seats.

For the first months, the boycott was outright although Borissov said that GERB would attend for discussions of electoral law reform, although in turn his MPs showed up only for the final stages of the deliberations of an ad hoc committee on such “reform”.

GERB was back in Parliament for the fight over Budget 2013 amendments that committed the country to 500 million euro in new debt, and after the summer recess, in effect ended its boycott.

However, the opposition party’s motion of no confidence in the Bulgarian Socialist Party government produced farcical scenes over procedural issues, leading to more absences and walkouts.

The Friday Question Time sitting ended before it began on October 4, but this time not because GERB declined to officially register as present, but because the parties of the ruling axis – the BSP, Movement for Rights and Freedoms and Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists Ataka – failed to muster sufficient MPs among them.

On October 6, Borissov said that this tactic, which he described as “parliamentary methods, recognised by democracy” would continue.

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