The resignation of one of centre-right opposition party GERB’s MPs from its parliamentary group sparked surprise in the 42nd National Assembly.
Georgi Markov, a 45-year-old economist who was party leader in Svishtov and was elected in the Veliko Turnovo electoral district, where GERB’s list leader was deputy party leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said that he had nothing against GERB leader Boiko Borissov and Tsvetanov but had a problem with the party’s “political commissars”.
GERB now has 96 members of Parliament, remaining the largest single parliamentary group but also the opposition after the May 2013 election results left Borissov’s party with no allies in the National Assembly with which to form a governing coalition.
Markov’s application to leave the parliamentary group of GERB was announced by the socialist Speaker of Parliament, Mihail Mikov, at the start of proceedings on December 3 2013, the same day that the National Assembly was scheduled to vote on the second reading of Budget 2014.
Soon afterwards, Parliament’s website already had been updated to show him sitting as an independent.
Markov told reporters that he had not discussed his decision to leave the parliamentary group with Borissov.
He said that he believed that his decision would be a “signal” to Borissov and Tsvetanov. There was a need for party discipline. Markov declined to name those who had caused him to quit, referring only to “the more popular ones, those on the first row”.
GERB’s frontbenchers, apart from Borissov and Tsvetanov, mainly are former members of Borissov’s cabinet that was in power from 2009 to early 2013.
In the 42nd National Assembly, apart from GERB’s 96 seats, the Bulgarian Socialist Party has 84, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms 36 and Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists Ataka 23.
The BSP, which currently holds the mandate to govern, and the MRF operate in concert, in turn reliant on Siderov’s ultra-nationalists to provide quorums for sittings.
Markov said that his would not be the one vote needed by the ruling axis to secure a majority.
He said that he had made the decision on his own to leave the GERB parliamentary group and had not persuaded anyone else to follow his move.
Markov said that he was “disappointed” that his former colleagues were directing innuendo and accusations against him. “I was democratically elected and can go where I want.”
He denied that his move had any connection with his accompanying Plamen Oresharski, occupant of the prime minister’s chair in the BSP government, to Romania last week.
Markov said that he would “as usual” votes that were sensible, and would support an increase in pensions, more resources for mothers, the education budget.
Deputy leader of GERB’s parliamentary group Krassimir Velchev said that if someone did not like something they should resign from Parliament and not just a parliamentary group. Velchev said that he learnt about Markov’s decision from the media and it had taken him by surprise.
BSP MP Spas Pantchev said that some of the members of the GERB parliamentary group had told him that they were unhappy and wanted to leave Borissov’s party.
Some months ago, Miroslav Naidenov, formerly agriculture minister in the Borissov cabinet, split from GERB to found the Basta party, claiming at the time that members of Parliament from GERB would quit to join his new party. This has not happened, so far, and in his statements on December 3, Markov made no reference to Naidenov or Basta.
(Georgi Markov, left, and Tsvetan Tsvetanov, centre. Photo: gerb.bg)