In melodramatic scenes in Bulgaria’s National Assembly on November 15, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party walked out after Speaker Dimitar Glavchev ordered BSP leader Kornelia Ninova out of the House – and later the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the fourth-largest parliamentary group, walked out too.
Ninova had taken to the podium to ask that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov be called to Parliament to explain a recent comment to the media that some MPs were involved in drug-dealing.
Glavchev expelled Ninova from the sitting for what he called statements in the BSP declaration that insulted the National Assembly and the Cabinet.
Ninova refused to leave the podium, prompting Glavchev to suspend the sitting for 10 minutes and call an emergency meeting of the presiding officers.
Danail Kirilov, an MP for Borissov’s GERB party, said that “publicly-known facts” should not be the reason for calling the Prime Minister to Parliament.
Kirilov referred to one BSP MP whose brother had been arrested for alleged involvement in organised crime, and another BSP MP under investigation on allegations of vote-buying.
BSP MP Anton Kutev also was expelled for calling for the Speaker’s resignation in violation of the rules of procedure.
The BSP then walked out, and said that it would initiate a petition among MPs to call for the resignation of Glavchev, a senior GERB MP, as Speaker.
The MRF walked out, issuing a challenge whether the National Assembly had a quorum to proceed, saying that they were leaving the House in protest against the first-reading debate being held on the amendments tabled by the BSP to the Privatisation and Post-Privatisation Control Act, without the BSP being present.
The MRF’s absence led to the House losing its quorum, leading to the suspension of business.
BSP deputy parliamentary group leader Zhelyo Boichev said that this was a “bad day for Bulgarian democracy” and accused Glavchev of “censoring” opposition MPs.
Should the BSP succeed in tabling a motion for Glavchev to resign, it would the second time in this Parliament, after a similar motion was defeated some months ago.
The BSP, backed by the MRF, earlier said that it would be tabling a motion of no confidence in Borissov’s government. Only these two groups will support the motion, with the other three opposing it, meaning that it is doomed to fail.