GERB-UDF bewildered by ‘rushed’ vote on resignation of Denkov government

Senior members of Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition expressed bewilderment on March 6 at what they called the rushed vote in the morning on the resignation of Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov’s government.

The unanimous vote to accept the resignation, with 216 votes in favour, was held with Borissov and Deputy Prime Minister Maria Gabriel – who, if the “rotation” happens, will take over as PM – out of the country at a European People’s Party conference in Romania.

The vote was placed as first item on Parliament’s Order Paper on March 6 by the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, after Denkov tabled the resignation on March 5.

WCC-DB used the opportunity provided by a parliamentary rule that says on the first Wednesday of the month, a parliamentary group, rather than the presiding officers’ council, may decide what parliamentary business may be transacted.

On March 6, it was the turn of WCC-DB, the parliamentary group that with GERB-UDF placed the Denkov government in office nine months earlier, on June 6 2023.

National Assembly Speaker Rossen Zhelyazkov, of GERB-UDF, told reporters after the vote: “At the moment we are wondering why, and the fragile trust that exists, even such symbolic gestures are being made that undermine that trust and somehow foreshadow the talks that can start as early as Friday”.

Zhelyazkov said that after the resignation of the Denkov government, Bulgaria was as close to elections as it was “one month ago and nine months ago”.

“Yesterday was the national conference of GERB and this was the news,” Zhelyazkov said, referring to the event where Borissov’s party decided to propose a “co-governance” agreement with WCC-DB and named a negotiating team, to be headed by Gabriel.

“The resignation had only one purpose and it was to cover up this news,” Zhelyazkov said.

“What follows from this rush? The first thing that follows is the opening of the constitutional procedure with consultations and the handing of mandates, which can start as early as tomorrow.”

Temenuzka Petkova, a deputy leader of the GERB-UDF parliamentary group and a member of the team meant to negotiate with WCC-DB, asked whether, given the speed of the vote on the resignation, WCC-DB was trying to push the country to early parliamentary elections.

“Our leader is at the EPP congress, together with Maria Gabriel. This hasty action raises suspicions. It is not clear what the purpose is – whether the absence of Borissov and Gabriel, or maybe they want to push the state to elections? I do not understand why this was rush,” Petkova said.

WCC co-leader Kiril Petkov said that WCC-DB did not want elections.

“We don’t want elections, but the other thing we don’t want is governance without reforms,” Petkov said.

“I think that all Bulgarians expect from us, when they go to the shop, that there are no monopoly situations with high prices. All Bulgarians expect the price of electricity and the price of gas to be illogical,” he said.

Bulgarians wanted media that were free, Petkov said.

“For these things to happen, the next reforms must become a fact. We enter with the most constructive possible tone with these talks, but with a clear and firm position on these reforms,” he said.

Democratic Bulgaria co-leader Hristo Ivanov, responding to the claim that WCC-DB was pushing Bulgaria towards elections, said: “We are responsible for ensuring that the country has a reformist government, and this is the only direction in which we are pushing”.

DB co-leader Atanas Atanassov said that WCC-DB had made a commitment to resign on the ninth month so that the “rotation” could happen.

“Some read this as a provocation and they are not correct. That is why we are here to say that we are fulfilling our obligations, we want stability in the country,” Atanassov said.

He said that Bulgarian society did not want elections and the word “elections” irritates people.

(Photo of Zhelyazkov:

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