Bulgaria’s Parliament votes not to sit during official election campaign period

Bulgaria’s Parliament voted on April 18 to not hold sittings from the start of the official campaign period ahead of the European Parliament and National Assembly elections, to the convening of the next Parliament.

Bulgaria’s European Parliament and early parliamentary elections are to be held simultaneously on June 9. The official campaign period is from May 10 to June 7.

Article 75 of the constitution says that a newly-elected National Assembly shall be convened for a first session by the President within a month following its election. Should the President fail to do so, it shall be convened by one-fifth of the members of the National Assembly.

The previous version of the constitution provided that in the event of failure to elect a government, Parliament was dissolved and an election date decreed.

As amended in 2023, the constitution now says that members of the National Assembly remain in office until the swearing-in of the newly-elected members of the National Assembly.

The vote on April 18 was not to hold plenary sittings and committee meetings from May 10 until the 51st National Assembly is sworn in.

This was backed by GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, with Vuzrazhdane, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and ITN opposed.

The vote also provides that during the recess, the administrative functions of the Speaker will be taken over by the chief secretary of the National Assembly.

The move to suspend sittings is in contrast to the earlier view of GERB-UDF, WCC-DB and the MRF that Parliament should continue to sit even during the campaign period, to control the actions of the caretaker government.

Their view now is that Parliament should go into recess during that time, to prevent the National Assembly being exploited as an election campaign platform.

The groups opposed to the vote proposed to hold at least Question Time, but it was decided that questions and answers will pass between MPs and members of the caretaker government only in written form.

Parliament also voted a change to the rules to address the issue of MPs who are members of the current National Assembly but who are also elected to the next one thus getting double salaries.

While previously salaries were calculated from the date of the election day, the rules have been changed so that salaries are calculated from the date of the swearing-in until the day before the next swearing-in.

Please support The Sofia Globe by signing up to become a subscriber to our page on Patreon:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292