Bulgarian cabinet did not discuss resignation – ministers

The meeting of the cabinet on June 11 did not discuss the issue of the resignation of the government, Mediapool reported, quoting ministers Dimitar Grekov and Angel Naidenov.

The government will continue to work and perform its duties conscientiously while still in office, the report quoted deputy prime minister Tsvetlin Yovchev as saying.

The customary Wednesday cabinet meeting took place as scheduled on June 11, with a 31-point agenda, the day after Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanishev – addressing a BSP national council meeting – called for the resignation of the cabinet after the conclusion of this week’s no-confidence vote.

Stanishev also called for early parliamentary elections in July. However, the eight-hour BSP meeting endorsed neither of these points, instead mandating Stanishev only to hold talks with other parties and with the President on holding parliamentary elections as soon as possible.

In any case, several commentators underlined that given the procedural timeframes set in the constitution and Bulgarian electoral law, it would be practically very difficult to hold elections as soon as July.

On June 11, the 42nd National Assembly – the future lifespan of which is open to question given the looming issue of its dissolution ahead of early elections – continued with its business, which included the election of new members of the National Audit Office and the no-confidence debate.

An earlier proposal by centre-right opposition GERB to drop the no-confidence motion in return for the BSP agreeing to drop the election of the National Audit Office members came to nothing.

GERB’s view was that a legislature that could be in the final stretch of its working days should not be making long-term appointments. The National Audit Office restructuring was among sweeping personnel changes made by the BSP since it came to power in May 2013.

Boiko Borissov’s party also held that the fact that the government was to resign was an indication that its motion of no confidence had succeeded.

A BSP MP, Georgi Kadiev, took a similar view that of GERB, saying that with Parliament arguably being in last few days of its life, it should not be electing officials to seven-year terms.

After the June 10 BSP national council meeting, it emerged that Kadiev was resigning his seat as an MP, having also been one of two people at the BSP gathering to vote against giving Stanishev a mandate to again lead the party into elections.

President Rossen Plevneliev has convened a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security on June 17 to discuss various pressing national issues, including the date for ahead-of-term parliamentary elections. Members of the council, apart from various government office-bearers, include representatives of political parties in the legislature.

This is the crucial background to the June 11 cabinet meeting not having discussed its resignation. It is a decision that will be made by political forces, not by the cabinet itself.

In another bizarre sign of business almost, if not quite, as usual, it was announced that prime minister Plamen Oresharski and energy minister Dragomir Stoynev were to address the National Assembly on June 13 on the decision by Oresharski to suspend work on South Stream in the light of the European Commission’s infringement procedure against Bulgaria in connection with the Russian-linked gas pipeline project.

Stanishev apparently had envisaged that Friday would be the day by which Oresharski would announce the government’s resignation.

(Photo of the cabinet office in Sofia: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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