Centre-right party GERB, Bulgaria’s parliamentary opposition party and also the single largest party in the 42nd National Assembly, said that it would in mid-February 2014 table a motion of no confidence in the Bulgarian Socialist Party government on the grounds of failings in the security sector.
GERB leader Boiko Borissov told reporters that there were a number of issues in the security sector that represented failings by the current government, including the handling of the refugee influx into Bulgaria.
The same day, GERB former interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that the party wanted legislative changes to abolish the duplication of functions by the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security as well as reversal of the law approved under the current government transferring the power of appointment of the head of SANS from the head of state to the legislature.
BSP leader Sergei Stanishev poured scorn on GERB’s plan for a motion of no confidence on the basis of the security sector, saying it was the “least appropriate” topic for GERB to pick.
Stanishev said that the BSP government had tightened control over the use of electronic surveillance, had “successfully” handed the refugee influx and had come up with legislation on the Interior Ministry that, according to Stanishev, was supported by ministry employees and trade unionists.
He said that he wanted to know whether GERB supported the existence of illegal electronic surveillance, the use of which under the GERB government had been ascertained by prosecutors and said that when in government, Borissov’s party had used the Interior Ministry as “an instrument for repression of businesses”.
Stanishev said that the first act of terrorism in Bulgaria in decades, the July 2012 terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport, as well as “several other incidents” had taken place while GERB was in office.
Under Bulgaria’s constitution, approval of a vote of no confidence in the cabinet requires at least half of the total number of members of Parliament – not merely a simple majority of MPs present when the vote is taken. With 240 members of the National Assembly, this means 121 votes in favour of the motion.
In the 42nd National Assembly, GERB has 95 members, the BSP 84, the BSP’s ruling axis ally the Movement for Rights and Freedoms 36, Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists Ataka 23 and there are two “independent” members who quit the GERB parliamentary group. In terms of allegiance, two MPs, one currently in the BSP group and one of the “independents”, are said to be poised to join the “Bulgaria without Censorship” extra-parliamentary party.
Previous motions of no confidence in the BSP government, tabled in September and October 2013 by GERB, have been defeated by the combined opposition, whether by voting or abstention, to them by the BSP, MRF and Ataka.
(Photo of Borissov: gerb.bg)