Vote of no confidence in Bulgarian government postponed for lack of quorum

A re-vote of a vote of no confidence in Bulgaria’s Nikolai Denkov government scheduled for November 17 was postponed after the day’s sitting of Parliament was denied a quorum.

Provisionally, the vote will now be held on November 22 – given that Parliament customarily sits from Wednesdays to Fridays – unless a special sitting is called.

On November 17, while large numbers of MPs from all parliamentary groups were present in the House, only 78 registered as present, mainly from We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Ten minutes later, Speaker Rossen Zhelyazkov held a second registration procedure, which saw 79 MPs register as present. With the House not quorate, he adjourned the sitting until next Wednesday.

The saga comes amid a conflict among the parliamentary groups that voted the Denkov government into office in June 2023.

At issue is Bulgaria’s temporary derogation from an EU ban on processing crude oil originating in Russia.

Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF group and Delyan Peevski’s Movement for Rights and Freedoms group say that they want the derogation scrapped, because it helps fund the Putin regime’s war on Ukraine, while WCC-DB want the derogation kept in place according to the existing schedule, saying that dropping it immediately would cause a spike in fuel prices.

Peevski has threatened that unless WCC-DB gives in on the issue, the government would be brought down. On November 16, WCC-DB group co-leader Kiril Petkov said that the group would not give in on the issue.

At Parliament’s November 16 sitting, GERB-UDF and the MRF absented themselves from the vote of no confidence. A re-vote was called, but the sitting could not proceed after it was established that the House did not have a quorum.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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