Svetlin Tanchev resigned from the GERB parliamentary group on December 10 2013, the second MP to leave Bulgaria’s largest opposition party within the space of one week.
Tanchev, 35, was elected on GERB’s list in capital city Sofia and is a member of the foreign affairs and EU funds committees. He was also an MP for GERB in the previous legislature.
His resignation came as a surprise – just as the resignation of Georgi Markov did last week – but, unlike Markov, Tanchev has avoided speaking to the media and give any reasons for his decision.
This move leaves GERB with 95 MPs in the 42nd National Assembly, still the largest parliamentary group. Just as a week ago, local media speculated that this would make it easier for Bulgaria’s ruling axis to meet the necessary quorum to hold Parliamentary sittings – the socialists and predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) have 120 MPs, one short of the quorum requirement, but one of the MRF MPs, Delyan Peevski, whose appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) in June sparked the anti-government protests in the country, has routinely been absent from Parliament since his failed appointment.
GERB leader Boiko Borissov refused to play the conspiracy game, saying in a post on Facebook that “it is always the parties in government that are accused, but we will be the exception and seek, instead, the fault in ourselves, in the way we put forth MP nominees.”
He said that the second defection was a clear sign that GERB needed new faces in its leadership and that the time to do so was in February 2014, at the next party conference.
Markov, who has enjoyed the media attention for the past week, left the GERB parliamentary group claiming disagreements with the party’s frontbenchers in Parliament, who are mainly members of the Borissov government between 2009 and 2012.
On December 10, Markov said that he had not spoken to Tanchev, but knew of at least another “10 to 15 GERB MPs” that were disaffected.