Bulgarian National Assembly Speaker Mikov: This parliament is finished

The National Assembly will vote on the resignation of the government on July 23 if it has been tabled by Plamen Oresharski by then, because the latest ultimatum by opposition GERB that it will return to Parliament only to vote on the cabinet’s resignation means that practically, the work of Parliament has come to an end, Speaker Mihail Mikov said.

With the boycott of parliamentary sittings by far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka, which previously provided the ruling axis in the National Assembly with a quorum to hold proceedings, sittings of the National Assembly now depend on the formal presence of Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party.

But on July 17, there was no quorum as Borissov’s MPs stayed away in a dispute over amendments to the national Budget.

The struggle for quorums, cancelled sittings and on-again, off-again full or partial boycotts of proceedings have been a running theme in the 42nd National Assembly since it was elected in May 2013.

Mikov said that next week’s meeting of the National Assembly was scheduled to be on July 23 and if by that date the resignation of the cabinet had been submitted, it would be voted on.

He criticised Bulgaria’s politicians who, instead of debating in the House, preferred to talk in the corridors or to the media.

Previously, Oresharski, named to sit in the prime minister’s chair in the cabinet appointed with the mandate to govern given to the second-ranked Bulgarian Socialist Party, hinted that the resignation would be tabled on July 23.

Earlier reports said that he did not want to resign on July 21 because that was the scheduled date for the reopening to clients of Corporate Commercial Bank, Oresharski’s apparent belief being that the resignation of the cabinet on the same day that the bank reopened would be a “bad signal”.

That latter factor has now fallen away because central Bulgarian National Bank has extended the special supervision period of Corpbank to September 21.

From the BSP, there have been mixed signals about the effect of the Budget revision saga on the departure of the cabinet. Some have said it would not delay the departure of the cabinet and the proroguing of Parliament (scheduled for August 6), but on July 17, BSP MP Borislav Gutsanov said that it might.

In turn, Bulgarian-language media reports later the same day said that most members of the BSP parliamentary group did not agree with Gutsanov’s point of view.

Mikov, asked by reporters whether the resignation of the cabinet could be postponed, said that the BSP had committed itself to the holding of elections on October 5 and if the cabinet’s resignation did not come, “we will seek other constitutional means” to achieve this.

On July 17, Borissov was quoted as saying that his party would not enter the House to vote on the National Health Insurance Fund budget revision unless there was agreement to amend the Interior Ministry and National Audit Office legislation – both controversially changed since the current ruling axis has been in power.

For weeks since the results of Bulgaria’s May European Parliament elections made it clear that the days of the BSP as the holder of the mandate to govern were numbered, there has been a saga of attempts to reach political deals on the final tasks of this cabinet and this parliament. These attempts largely have ended in failure, acrimony and mutual allegations of backtracking and double-dealing.



The Sofia Globe staff

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