Bulgaria’s opposition majority scuppers Parliament sitting to elect Speaker
A June 22 sitting of Bulgaria’s Parliament that had been meant to elect a new Speaker was cancelled after four opposition groups – together holding the larger share of seats – denied it a quorum.
The sitting had been scheduled to elect a successor to Nikola Minchev, ousted as Speaker by the votes of the four parties on June 16.
MPs from opposition GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, ITN and Vuzrazhdane declined to register as present. Three attempts to secure a quorum failed.
The opposition groupings did not want any parliamentary business to proceed before the sitting scheduled for 7.10pm on June 22 to vote on the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s government.
With the three parliamentary groups remaining in the ruling coalition now in the minority in the National Assembly, Petkov has to muster the co-operation of at least six MPs from elsewhere in the House for his government to survive the evening’s vote.
Andrei Gyurov, parliamentary leader of the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change party, told Bulgarian National Television on June 22: “We are optimistic.
“People have shown which side they stand for. No matter how the vote goes tonight, the constitution allows enough mechanisms to build a stable majority,” Gyurov said.
“For us, of course, the plan is to take the first mandate (to seek to form a government) and look for a stable majority of MPs who decide to stand on the good side of history. I believe that there are enough MPs in Parliament who are not bought with gold bars and bundles (of money) and will make the right choice,” he said.
A massive turnout is expected for a pro-government protest scheduled to begin outside the Parliament building 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the evening sitting.
According to a poll done by the Alpha Research agency for Bulgarian National Television’s weekly Referendum talk show, Bulgaria’s public is closely divided on whether Petkov’s government should remain in office.
The results of the poll, broadcast on the evening of June 21, showed that 47.4 per cent wanted the motion of no confidence to succeed and 46.5 per cent wanted it to fail. A total of 6.1 per cent were undecided.
Alpha Research said that compared with its previous poll, a week ago, support for the no-confidence motion had declined by 4.4 percentage points while opposition to it had gained 4.6 percentage points.
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