Political limbo as Bulgarian Parliament’s standoff over election of Speaker continues

The April 13 continuation of the first sitting of Bulgaria’s 49th National Assembly lasted hardly a minute as the standoff over the election of a Speaker continued.

The standoff over the election of Parliament’s principal presiding officer means that the start of the formal process of attempting to form a government will be delayed.

The newly-elected National Assembly began its first sitting on April 12, with neither candidate Speaker – Rossen Zhelyazkov of GERB-UDF and Petar Petrov of Vuzrazhdane – getting enough votes to be elected.

On Thursday, MPs gathered in the House, but after a few moments, Vezhdi Rashidov – presiding over the sitting in accordance with a rule that the oldest member does so pending the election of a Speaker – said that because there were no new nominations, the sitting would resume on April 19 at 10am.

“In this stalemate, I don’t see what we can do. We will just have more time to think,” Rashidov told the House.

The adjournment of the Thursday gathering followed the failure of talks between GERB-UDF and We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria to produce agreement on a Speaker.

As the largest parliamentary group, GERB-UDF wants the post of Speaker, as has been the Bulgarian Parliament’s practice since the beginning of the country’s post-communist democracy. WCC-DB, the second-largest group, has proposed rotating the post between the two groups.

GERB-UDF and WCC-DB were expected to hold talks on April 13 on legislative priorities, mainly the Budget.

On Thursday, GERB-UDF leader repeated that he wants to form a government with WCC-DB, a scenario that the latter has ruled out.

“Our main priority is a government between GERB and WCC. We are ready for many compromises,” Borissov said.

WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov, asked by reporters whether it was possible to achieve agreement with GERB-UDF on a government, said that the talks were only about an overall legislative programme.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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