Volya, the smallest party in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, is to boycott sittings, leader Vesselin Mareshki told journalists on March 14.
The 12-MP group is the second to announce a boycott of Parliament, after Kornelia Ninova’s opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, which has 78 MPs in the 240-seat legislature.
Mareshki told reporters that for the moment he could not share the reasons why his party’s parliamentary group and leadership had decided on the boycott.
He said that talks were continuing and “they are not easy, believe me”.
Mareshki, a wealthy business person prominent in the cut-price pharmaceuticals and fuels business who won seats for the first time in the 2017 election on a populist platform, said that the role of Volya was to “highlight the lies and manipulations in both Parliament and politics, and society as a whole” and said that the decision to leave was part of that “consistent policy”.
As to the reasons for leaving, Mareshki said: “In the afternoon or in the coming days we will give you more clarification on the subject”.
The absence of Volya will make it more difficult for Bulgaria’s National Assembly to secure quorums to hold sittings.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party has 95 MPs and government minority partner the United Patriots has 27, making 122, just enough for a quorum if all are registered as present.
The BSP has accused GERB of operating in an effective coalition with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, claiming that there was a trade-off that saw the MRF back the rejection of President Radev’s veto of the Electoral Code in return for GERB supporting amendments to absolve the office of the Chief Mufti of more than eight million leva in debts.
However, there was a turnabout by GERB on March 13 when its parliamentary leader announced that before the second reading of the Religious Denominations Act amendments, they would be rewritten to reschedule the debts, not write them off.