Bulgaria's FinMin Terms Opposition MPs 'Drunks', Apologizes
Bulgarian Deputy PM and FinMin Simeon Djankov (left) with Parliamentary Budget Committee head Menda Stoyanova during the debates on Budget 2013. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's parliamentary opposition has been outrage by what it deemed a severe insult on part of Finance Minister and Deputy PM Simeon Djankov during the second reading debates on the 2013 State Budget Act.
On Thursday, MPs from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party demanded and actually received an apology from Djankov for styling them "drunkards" the night before.
"They seem to be getting tired; apparently, part of the opposition is already drunk so they can hardly raise their hands," the Bulgarian Finance Minister declared on the parliamentary floor late Wednesday night, as cited by Darik Radio.
"If you've noticed that, it has been a very long time since the MPs used to vote by raising their hands," Socialist MP Petar Korumbashev declared in turn, being the first to demand an apology from Djankov.
Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva was also tangled in the scandal as she was urged by the opposition to "force" Djankov to apologize for saying the opposition MPs were drunk.
"You and all of your colleagues are aware that my rights refer only to the Members of Parliament," she said.
Djankov was also slammed by Socialist MP Dimcho Mihalevski for suggesting that since the MPs have already adopted the budgets of the social security and health insurance bodies they had nothing to comment on with respect to the overall 2013 State Budget Act.
"If you, Mrs. Chairwoman, fail to notice that a member of the executive is making the role, rights, and responsibilities of the Parliament devoid of meaning, then you probably fail to understand why all of us are here, and why you are there above me," Mihalevski said.
As the scandal heated up, the opposition MPs demanded that the Finance Minister be removed from the parliamentary sitting, a motion that was voted on and rejected by the MPs from the ruling party GERB. The ensuing chants for Djankov's resignation led Tsacheva to declare a 15-minute break.
After the break, Djankov did apologize for his words citing his tiredness as an excuse for what he said.
"I sincerely apologize for my words late last night. Might it was the result of the tiredness after many hours of sessions. I apologize for what I said, and I hope you will accept this so that we can do get our job done today in good order," he declared.
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