Bulgaria’s Parliament sets no-confidence debate for June 21

Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Miroslav Ivanov has convened a special sitting of Parliament for June 21 at 11am to debate the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s coalition government, according to Parliament’s website.

The no-confidence motion has been tabled by the largest opposition grouping, the GERB-UDF coalition, on the grounds of what it describes as the government’s failure in the areas of public finance and economic policy.

Currently, GERB-UDF and the other groups that have stated support for the motion have 125 MPs in Bulgaria’s 240-seat National Assembly, enough for the motion to be approved.

However, Petkov and his We Continue the Change party are continuing efforts to persuade MPs from Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party, which has quit the ruling coalition, to break ranks with Trifonov’s group and vote to support the government.

Six MPs have quit Trifonov’s group in recent days, but it remains uncertain whether the ruling coalition would be able to recruit the six more needed for the government to survive the no-confidence motion.

Bulgaria’s parliamentary rules say that voting on a motion of no confidence may take place no earlier than 24 hours after debate on the motion is concluded.

That suggests that voting may take place no earlier than some time late in the second half of June 22, or more likely, on June 23.

Approval of a motion of no confidence obliges the government to resign. If the motion of no confidence is defeated, according to the constitution, another may be tabled no earlier than six months hence.

In other developments in the political drama in Bulgaria on June 17, ITN MP Iva Miteva said that she would not “at this stage” be the nominee to be the next Speaker of the National Assembly.

This follows GERB-UDF, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane and ITN standing together on June 16 to oust WCC’s Nikola Minchev as Speaker, a move that triggered a spontaneous large-scale protest outside Parliament in the evening in support of Minchev and of Petkov’s government.

President Roumen Radev, speaking on June 17, said: “Like all Bulgarians, I follow with bitterness the disintegration of this National Assembly.

“The parties must be aware that with these muddy struggles they are discrediting the entire political system, that the Bulgarian Parliament is not a marketplace. Some are buying MPs, others are agreeing to return the old model of corruption,” Radev said.

Radev said that both sides were killing the hopes and trust of Bulgarians in politicians.

“They are killing it with their speech, behaviour, populism and fraternisation between political opponents in the name of power,” he said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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