GERB MPs walk out of Radev’s speech at second inauguration

MPs for Boiko Borissov’s opposition GERB party walked out of the National Assembly chamber on January 19 as President Roumen Radev was delivering his speech at his second inauguration as Bulgaria’s head of state.

The GERB MPs were offended by Radev saying that his first presidential term had taken place at a dramatic time in which the “old authoritarian model” had reached its apogee.

Radev said that the “civil revolt in 2020 against the mafiasation of power” had brought to the surface facts and processes that it had kept silent.

Radev, referring to when GERB was in power, said that the “mafia government” had been “based on lawlessness and corruption”.

As the GERB MPs walked out, Radev said: “I don’t like it either, but I prefer the truth”.

Even when Radev had entered the chamber, the GERB group had remained seated, unlike the remainder of the MPs, who rose to their feet.

GERB-UDF parliamentary group leader Dessislava Atanassova said that in the past five years – a reference to Radev’s first term in office – he had given up his main constitutional function, to unite the nation.

Atanassova pointed to Radev and his vice presidential running mate having been elected with record low turnout.

The incident was an echo of the January 19 2017 episode when Radev addressed Parliament as President-elect. While being heckled, Radev responded: “You have one week,” a reference to the then-forthcoming dissolution of Parliament ahead of that year’s early parliamentary elections.

Radev first won office in November 2016 elections, on a socialist-backed ticket, defeating the GERB candidate of the time in a run-off election. In the November 2021 elections, Radev again defeated a GERB-backed candidate in a second-round vote.

(Screenshot via BNT)

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