Live Feed - 50th National Assembly Convenes: Deputies Sworn In and Speaker Election Underway (UPDATED)

Politics | June 19, 2024, Wednesday // 09:17
Bulgaria: Live Feed - 50th National Assembly Convenes: Deputies Sworn In and Speaker Election Underway (UPDATED) Silvi Kirilov

Update:  follow the latest developments here

Update: None of the candidates secured the required votes in the initial round of voting for Speaker of the Parliament. With 238 deputies present, the majority needed was 120.

Petar Petrov from "Revival" garnered support solely from his own party, receiving 38 votes.

Raya Nazaryan of GERB received 116 votes in favor, with 69 against and 53 abstentions.

Silvi Kirilov, backed by "There Is Such a People" and one member from "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria," gathered 17 votes in favor, 107 against, and 13 abstentions.

Yuliana Mateeva from "Greatness" received 12 votes, all from her party.

Advancing to the second round were Raya Nazaryan of GERB and Petar Petrov from "Revival."

In the subsequent round, neither candidate secured the necessary votes to be elected Speaker of the Parliament.

Raya Nazaryan had more support after being endorsed by GERB and DPS, but fell short of the required threshold. She received 115 votes in favor, with 69 against and 63 abstentions.

Petar Petrov garnered support from "Revival" and three members of "There Is Such a People," totaling 41 votes in favor, 112 against, and 85 abstentions.

Following the second round, Silvi Kirilov announced a 30-minute recess until 11 a.m.

DPS leader Denya Peevski urged all parties to show humility and rally behind Raya Nazaryan (GERB) for Speaker of the National Assembly.

Peevski emphasized that despite GERB and DPS supporting Nazaryan, they still did not reach the necessary 120 votes. He called on all deputies to heed the electorate's message and make a decisive choice today.

Update: Four candidates have been nominated for the position of Speaker of the Parliament.

From GERB, Temenuzka Petkova presented Raya Nazaryan as their candidate. Described as a skilled communicator with extensive organizational experience, Nazaryan holds a Master of Laws from Sofia University and has practiced law for 14 years at the Sofia Bar Association. She has also served as an MP in the last three parliamentary terms.

"Revival" has once again put forward Petar Petrov as their nominee, introduced by Tsveta Rangelova as a person known for his high moral standards and commitment to upholding the law.

"There Is Such a People" proposed Silvi Kirilov for the role of Speaker. Toshko Yordanov highlighted Kirilov's medical background as one of Bulgaria's top urologists, with previous experience as the director of many prominent hospitals, including "Alexandrovska" hospital. Yordanov emphasized the need for moral leadership among parliamentarians, which Kirilov embodies.

Representing "Greatness," Victoria Vasileva nominated Prof. Yuliana Mateeva, a distinguished lawyer and professor of criminal law with over 23 years of academic and professional experience, including numerous publications and monographs.

The nominations were followed by a vote conducted in alphabetical order of the candidates' first names, with no speeches given during the process.

Update: Deputies are currently deliberating the procedural regulations for electing the Speaker of the National Assembly.

GERB has put forward a proposal suggesting that the Speaker be elected by a majority vote of the deputies present. If no candidate secures a majority, the top two contenders proceed to a second round, where the winner is determined by a simple majority.

On behalf of "There Is Such a People," Toshko Yordanov has advocated for a revision to these rules. He proposes that in the second round, the victor must garner not just a majority, but the support of over half of the deputies present.

This proposed amendment was defeated, with GERB and DPS voting against it

Update: Toshko Yordanov, chairman of "There Is Such a People" (TISP), criticized former colleagues in the previous parliament for prioritizing personal and party interests over national obligations. He specifically targeted "We Continue the Change," accusing it of appointing two of Bulgaria's least competent prime ministers.

Yordanov emphasized that no party in the 50th National Assembly should wield political dominance or issue ultimatums. He argued that every political formation holds equal weight and responsibility in the parliament.

According to Yordanov, Bulgaria requires an expert-led government focused on professionalism rather than partisan control. He underscored the importance of a smart and principled opposition, stressing that all parties must act responsibly, whether in support or critique of the government.

"If we focus only on ourselves, rationality will disappear from parliament, leading us back into the cycle of elections," Yordanov warned.

Update: The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) emphasized the need for a government that prioritizes Bulgarian interests, expertise, and has a clear long-term vision. The party pledged to adopt a collaborative approach in the National Assembly to achieve this goal.

Atanas Zafirov, leader of the BSP, stated that the party would refrain from divisive tactics and partisan power-sharing in governance. He indicated that the duration of the 50th National Assembly's term would hinge on whether its members promote unity or division.

"Responsibility, rationality, and dialogue will be BSP's guiding principles," Zafirov affirmed, urging fellow lawmakers to adopt a similar approach.

Update: Speaking on behalf of "Revival," party leader Kostadin Kostadinov underscored the electorate's rejection of participation in recent elections and the message conveyed to political leaders. He voiced opposition to attempts at government formation and reiterated his party's stance of abstaining from alliances with other political groups.

Kostadinov emphasized that Bulgarian citizens deserve effective governance, criticizing what he described as a mix of superficial expertise and insincere concern that fails to deliver results in a short timeframe.

He concluded his address with a quote from renowned poet Nikola Vaptsarov: "Yet in the storm, we shall stand by you again, my people, for we have loved you!"

Update: "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" (WCC-DB has called upon GERB and DPS leaders to step up and govern Bulgaria, reiterating their stance of not participating in government themselves.

Former Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov pointed out that GERB had toppled his cabinet, where both parties were coalition partners. Denkov accused Boyko Borissov of withdrawing support due to reluctance to enact substantial reforms, asserting that his brief tenure accomplished more than GERB's lengthy rule.

Denkov emphasized that the election results granted Borissov and Peevski the opportunity to govern independently. He urged them to accept responsibility and form a government without seeking excuses or portraying themselves as victims.

"We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" acknowledged voter dissatisfaction, reflected in the coalition losing nearly a third of its former MPs, and pledged to diligently work to regain public trust. Denkov affirmed their commitment to an active, constructive pro-European opposition, willing to support government decisions beneficial to society.

Update: DPS delivered a speech emphasizing Bulgaria's commitment to Euro-Atlantic values and their crucial role for the country's future.

Yordan Tsonev, speaking on behalf of the party, urged all political forces aligned with these values to join a new government. He stressed the necessity of a stable majority and a government with a four-year mandate to effectively address national issues.

Tsonev underscored that Bulgaria's Euro-Atlantic choice is not merely symbolic but essential for tackling economic challenges, enhancing income levels, and ensuring national security through NATO. He reiterated DPS's unwavering support for Ukraine in its struggle against aggression, emphasizing their consistent policy stance.

In conclusion, Tsonev affirmed DPS's commitment to maintaining a predictable policy that prioritizes Bulgaria's integration into the European Union and cooperation within NATO.

Update: GERB has presented a clear condition: either form a government of broad support with a 4-year mandate or proceed to early elections, stated Toma Bikov on behalf of the party's largest parliamentary group.

Bikov highlighted that recent parliaments have struggled to interpret election outcomes, and the new parliament's primary task is to discern these results accurately. He emphasized that voters signaled their dissatisfaction with the inability of multiple political forces to form a government. This, Bikov argued, necessitates humility from representatives and the ability to construct complex governance structures.

GERB is prepared to compromise and step back, Bikov affirmed, but stressed the need for collaborative dialogue with other political entities. He underscored their commitment to principled discussions while safeguarding the trust of their constituents from being exploited for narrow party or corporate gains.

Speaking on behalf of GERB, mandate holder Toma Bikov expressed that while early elections are undesirable, the party is willing to make this decision, understanding the risks it poses to the state, society, and democratic processes.

Update: The people's representatives took the oath written in the Constitution. After the oath, the anthems of Bulgaria and the European Union sounded in the hall. As always before, the deputies from "Revival" defiantly took their seats during the "Ode to Joy". The speeches of the leaders of parliamentary groups will begin now.

The 50th National Assembly convened for its inaugural session, where deputies are set to take their oaths and elect a Speaker of the Parliament. The session was chaired by the oldest member of parliament, Silvi Kirilov from "There Is Such a People" (TISP). Of the 240 members, 237 were present in the hall.

Silvi Kirilov addressed the assembly, highlighting the dynamic and divided nature of the current times. He emphasized the widespread lack of trust in institutions and the political system, the perceived absence of justice, and the lack of societal unity. Kirilov called for a return to common sense.

GERB, the largest parliamentary force in the 50th Parliament, has nominated Raya Nazaryan for the Speaker of the Parliament. However, all other political forces except DPS and TISP have stated they will not support her candidacy.

WCC-DB has decided to vote against Nazaryan without nominating their own candidate. "Revival" plans to announce its candidate from the plenary hall, BSP will nominate Dobromir Stoynev, and "Greatness" will put forward Yuliana Mateeva for the position.

Before the ceremonial opening of the new National Assembly, President Rumen Radev addressed the importance of the representatives' oath. He reminded them that their duty is to defend the state's interest over party interests and prioritize Bulgarian priorities above foreign ones. Radev stressed that the parliament's daily agenda should be driven by the interests of the state and society.

Radev acknowledged the complex times Bulgaria is facing, noting that this parliament must tackle numerous longstanding issues. He highlighted the representatives' crucial mission to maintain peace and ensure the country's security amidst a challenging geopolitical landscape and ongoing war near Bulgaria's borders. Radev wished success to the 50th National Assembly, hoping it surpasses its predecessors in effectiveness and dedication.

Dimitar Glavchev, former acting PM. expressed his hope that the National Assembly will not falter, urging it to promptly elect a Speaker of the Parliament and form a regular government. He emphasized the need for swift and decisive action as the new session begins.

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Tags: National Assembly, parliament, Speaker

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