Members of Bulgaria’s ruling coalition have dismissed the boycott of Parliament by Vesselin Mareshki’s populist Volya party as not representing a crisis.
Mareshki announced on March 14 that his party, which has 12 seats in Bulgaria’s 240-seat National Assembly, was to boycott Parliament. He gave no clear reasons why.
Volya is the second out of the five parliamentary groups to boycott, after the mid-February decision by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party group to absent itself.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, parliamentary leader of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, said that there was no reason for early parliamentary elections. “The country is stable, the Parliament is doing its job,” he said.
GERB’s plan was for elections to proceed as scheduled – for the European Parliament in May, municipal elections in October, no elections in 2020 and regular parliamentary elections in 2021.
“I do not think that there is a parliamentary crisis,” Tsvetanov said.
Asked how a quorum for sittings would be secured from now on, he replied: “Discipline”.
GERB and minority coalition partner the United Patriots together have 122 seats.
Valeri Simeonov, leader of one of the three parties in the United Patriots, told reporters that he was not particularly worried about the quorum.
Simeonov said that Bulgaria was not facing a parliamentary crisis. “I find it very comfortable now that there is no BSP. Laws are adopted at a good pace. Parliament is working.”
He issued a reminder that the United Patriots had tabled a proposal for stricter financial sanctions for MPs who absent themselves from work.
Kornelia Ninova, leader of the opposition BSP, told journalists that she had no idea why Volya was boycotting Parliament.
She derided Mareshki’s party as being simultaneously government and opposition. “Let’s see how long it (the boycott) will last,” Ninova said.
(Photo of Tsvetanov: gerb.bg)