Bulgarian government faces no-confidence vote over health care

Bulgaria’s National Assembly debated on February 17 2016 a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right coalition government over its health care policy, with the failure of the vote a foregone conclusion.

The no-confidence motion, tabled by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms, was the first since the government headed by Borissov – which also previously was in office from 2009 to early 2013 – came to power in November 2014.

Those who said that they would vote against the motion included Borissov’s GERB party, the Reformist Bloc, the Patriotic Front and socialist breakaway ABC – the four partners in the governing coalition – as well as minority party Bulgarian Democratic Centre.

Radan Kanev, who led his Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria party into opposition in late 2015 although it remains part of the Reformist Bloc parliamentary group, said that his party also would vote against the motion of no confidence.

The vote on the motion is expected on February 19. Those to be vote in favour are the BSP, MRF, and two independent MPs, nationalist Velizar Enchev and former BSP MP Georgi Kadiev. The stance of Ataka, one of the two smallest parties in the current National Assembly, was not immediately clear.

Opposition MPs criticised Health Minister Petar Moskov, a Reformist Bloc member, over the controversy about vaccines and the introduction of a system requiring fingerprint identification at hospitals and pharmacies to access National Health Insurance Fund payments.

In recent months, political forces and media hostile to the government and Moskov have sought to generate controversy about the import of vaccines.

Kanev said that the motion was theatre and was boring, a sequel to the campaign that brought down the Reformist Bloc’s Hristo Ivanov, who in late 2015 resigned as Justice Minister because frustration at diluted constitutional amendments that had been intended to further judicial reform.

Kanev himself came under attack both from the opposition and from GERB, who said that he had left Moskov as a “political orphan” with no one to defend him. This was a reference to the fact that Moskov initially was appointed to the cabinet from Kanev’s DSB via the Reformist Bloc quota. When the DSB went into opposition, Kanev said that Moskov, who decided to remain in the cabinet, no longer represented the DSB.

At one point in the acrimonious debate, during which Moskov said to the opposition that they had no real arguments against his record as health minister, the microphone picked him saying in Russian – as he addressed himself to the BSP benches – “you should drink less”.




The Sofia Globe staff

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