Bulgaria: Impasse over Sofia city council leadership remains

Meeting on November 20, Sofia city council again failed to elect a council chairperson, while no progress has been announced in forming a ruling majority.

Without an elected chairperson, the city council cannot transact business.

Bulgaria’s Local Government and Administration Act says that if a municipal council does not meet for three months, it is dissolved and the municipal election commission must request the country’s president to schedule new council elections.

The attempts to elect a chairperson are being presided over, as the law requires, the oldest city councillor, Greti Stefanova of We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria-Spasi Sofia. But Stefanova may not preside over ordinary business, meaning any such meetings would not be legally legitimate.

On November 20, in what was largely a repeat of the failed election process at the council’s first meeting on November 13, two candidate chairpersons reached a second round – Boris Bonev of WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia and the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Diana Tonova.

Neither got the minimum 31 votes in the 61-seat city council to win. Bonev got 23 and Tonova nine. There were 12 spoilt ballots.

As happened at the first meeting of the newly-elected city council, the GERB-UDF group did not nominate a candidate chairperson, and abstained from voting. GERB-UDF’s group in the city council has said that it will remain in opposition.

A further attempt to elect a council chairperson will be made on November 30 at 10am.

Bonev said that before the next meeting, his group would invite all others for talks.

This past weekend, Sofia mayor Vassil Terziev, of WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia, invited the other groups for talks. Only the BSP, Vuzrazhdane and right-wing Blue Sofia responded to his invitation. Those involved denied that the talks covered the issues of the elections of a council chairperson and heads of standing committees.

(Screenshot via Nova TV)

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