Bulgaria: Pro-Russian minority party’s bid to scupper sitting of Parliament fails

An attempt by pro-Russian minority party Vuzrazhdane to obstruct the December 18 special sitting of Bulgaria’s Parliament failed, but the sitting saw incidents including physical confrontations.

As they did when disrupting Parliament’s December 14 sitting, MPs from Vuzrazhdane – which has 37 MPs in the 240-seat House – clustered around the speaker’s podium to obstruct access to it. Their actions were in response to the dismantling of figures on the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia.

But GERB-UDF parliamentary leader Dessislava Atanassova, citing a provision in Parliament’s rules of procedure, proposed that MPs being allowed to speak from their seats, a motion that was approved, with serjeants-at-arms providing members with a floating microphone.

The National Assembly proceeded to work its way through the day’s Order Paper, with business proceeding faster than usual, given that Vuzrazhdane hardly took part in business, while the Bulgarian Socialist Party boycotted the sitting, also in protest at the dismantling of the monument.

There was a confrontation between Vuzrazhdane, which tried to sabotage the speaker system, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms’ Delyan Peevski and Yordan Tsonev, with the confrontation escalating to pushing and shoving.

Vuzrazhdane MP Ivelin Purvanov alleged, from the speaker’s podium, that MRF MP Mario Angelov had threatened that he would be murdered in Pleven.

Speaker Rossen Zhelyazkov told Purvanov that the immunity of an MP from prosecution did not apply in the case of such a crime, and Purvanov was at liberty to complain to the authorities.

In the course of the day’s sitting, over just more than three hours MPs approved, among other items, the second reading of the budgets of the National Health Insurance Fund and State Social Insurance, and the second reading of a prohibition, as of March 1 next year, on the import of fuels produced from Russian oil and the processing by Lukoil’s refinery of oil originating from Russia.

In mid-afternoon, MPs began the second reading of Budget 2024, an item that initially had not been on the Order Paper. The BSP entered the House for this, having said that it would do so, and that it intends voting against.

Parliament is scheduled for a further special sitting on December 19, for the second reading of amendments to the constitution.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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