Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Zhablyanov latest presiding officer to fall in history of National Assembly

The February 21 2018 vote to oust Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Valeri Zhablyanov as Deputy Speaker is the latest of a succession of departures of presiding officers since the country began its transition to democracy more than a quarter of a century ago.

Three Speakers did not serve their full terms, the most recent in the current Parliament, when GERB’s Dimitar Glavchev stepped down as principal presiding officer in November 2017 amid controversy over his earlier decision to expel opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova from the House during a debate.

In February 2005, Ognyan Gerdzhikov of Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party was ousted as Speaker in a row over the handling of debates on the privatisation of Bulgartabak. In September 1992, Stefan Savov resigned as Speaker of the National Assembly, throwing in the towel after two attempts by the BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms to vote him out.

In November 2013, MRF MP Hristo Bisserov resigned as Deputy Speaker after prosecutors laid charges against him of tax evasion and money laundering. Bisserov later was acquitted of the charges.

In 2010, Luchezar Ivanov of GERB stepped down as Deputy Speaker over allegations, which he denied, that he had attempted to cover up irregularities related to the customs service. Seven years earlier, Blagovest Sendov of the BSP resigned as Deputy Speaker because he was appointed Bulgaria’s ambassador in Tokyo.

In July 1995, Kristian Krustev of the Bulgarian Business Bloc was removed from the post of Deputy Speaker after he quit the parliamentary group to sit as an independent.

By the rules of the Bulgarian National Assembly, each recognised parliamentary group is entitled to name a Deputy Speaker. A recent record was the previous Parliament, which had eight.

In the February 21 debate on voting out Zhablyanov, BSP leader Ninova said that the party would not appoint someone to succeed him because the BSP regarded Zhablyanov as its Deputy Speaker. She said that the party would take the matter to Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

(Screenshot of Zhablyanov: BNT)



Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.