Bulgaria’s National Assembly postponed two key votes on June 18, one on overturning a presidential veto of the Interior Ministry Bill and another on the second reading of Penal Code amendments, in yet another day of melodrama pending clarity on which tasks should be carried out while the resignation of the cabinet and the dissolution of parliament are awaited.
Moves to vote on the items angered centre-right opposition GERB leader Boiko Borissov, head of the largest single party in the National Assembly, who accused the other three parties of reneging on an agreement the previous day on delaying decisions on long-term issues pending a political deal on priorities.
This agreement was reached at a meeting of the Consulative Council on National Security, convened by head of state President Rossen Plevneliev, where a timeframe for early parliamentary elections was discussed.
This timeframe is September 28 to October 12, but there is continuing uncertainty when the cabinet will resign.
There is overall agreement among major political parties in Bulgaria on the need for early parliamentary elections in the light of the thorough defeat of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, current holder of the mandate to govern, in the May 25 European Parliament elections.
Borissov said that it had been agreed that no major decisions would be made before political consultations among the parties, expected to start only next week because BSP leader Sergei Stanishev and Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Lyutvi Mestan are not available in the next few days.
BSP Speaker of Parliament Mihail Mikov, who was among top office-bearers who attended the consultative council meeting on June 17, confirmed that there was an agreement on holding off on major decisions.
Initially, the parties of the ruling axis rejected Borissov’s appeal to postpone the voting, prompting him to walk out of the National Assembly plenary and declare that “this is war”.
“Revenge is not the tone of the accepted statement about a smooth transition to political stability and consensus,” Borissov said.
Senior BSP MPs Yanaki Stoilov and Alexander Paunov, respectively, then proposed postponement of the two votes. This was accepted.