12 Renegade MPs Adopted by Bulgaria's Rulers, Pledge Allegiance to Borisov

Politics » DOMESTIC | July 20, 2011, Wednesday // 17:18
Bulgaria: 12 Renegade MPs Adopted by Bulgaria's Rulers, Pledge Allegiance to Borisov Pictured: 3 of the 12 renegade MPs joining Borisov's ruling majority: ex-Ataka MPs (L-R) Valentin Nikolov, Kiril Gumnerov and Ognyan Peychev. Photo by BGNES

A total of 12 of the 18 "independent" members of the Bulgarian Parliament, renegades from a wide array of political parties, have issued a declaration backing PM Boyko Borisov and providing his minority government with a parliamentary majority.

The 12 MPs in question – Valetin Nikolov, Ventsislav Varbanov, Darin Matov, Dimitar Kolev, Dimitar Chukarski, Kiril Gumnerov, Kasim Dal, Korman Ismailov, Mario Tagarinski, Ognyan Peychev, Stoyan Ivanov, and Todor Velikov – are former representatives of all formations in Parliament except for the ruling party GERB and the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Thus, the renegade MPs come from the rightist Blue Coalition, the marginal conservative party RZS (Law, Order, Justice), the nationalist party Ataka, and even the opposition ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms).

In addition to declaring their support for the government of Boyko Borisov and his party GERB, the renegade MPs criticize the opposition – i.e. the Socialists and DPS backed by the Blue Coalition – for initiating a third no confidence vote for the Cabinet (which was tabled on Monday),

"We, the undersigned group of 12 independent MPs led by our free will, conscience, and convictions decisively state: "We support Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his government and we will vote against the no confidence motion," their declaration reads.

They say their declaration is aimed at demonstrating that the government has the support it needs, and "does not need to become the hostage of indecent deals and intentions."

The renegade MPs especially slam the nationalist party Ataka and its leader Volen Siderov – which for two years was the major ally of the ruling party GERB providing it with a de factor majority in Parliament. They accuse Siderov of seeking to keep the Cabinet as a "hostage" and to undermine the ethnic peace in the country – referring to the May 20 incident at the Sofia mosque in which Ataka activists clashed with praying Muslims.

The Borisov government has been assured of its survival during the upcoming no confidence vote anyway because its former ally, nationalist Ataka said it would not support the motion even though last week it officially ended it support for the Cabinet.

In order for the no confidence vote to pass, 121 Members of the Parliament (half of all 240 plus 1) have to vote in favor. GERB has 117 MPs but with the renegade MPs its majority gets boosted to 131 MPs.

The opposition can hope to rally 94 votes in its best-case scenario – 40 from BSP, 35 from DPS, 14 from the Blue Coalition, and 5 from RZS. It is unclear if the 16 Ataka MPs will abstain or boycott the vote.

This is the third no-confidence vote against the cabinet of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, submitted by the opposition. The first one was over the failure of policies in the health care sector; the second, in June 2011 – failure in the anti-crisis policy.

The shift in the relations between Borisov and Siderov had been visible as in June the Cabinet survived a no confidence vote on economic crisis policies initiated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) with the votes of the 117 GERB MPs and 9 independents (former members of the conservative party RZS and the nationalist Ataka), while its traditional earlier allies, Ataka with 17 MPs and the Blue Coalition MPs, did not take part at all in the voting. (The no confidence motion was overturned with 124 MPs against, 70 in favor, and 2 abstaining.)

The newly acquired significance of the renegade MPs as being crucial for the survival of the Borisov Cabinet has become tangible after US Ambassador James Warlick in Sofia had a meeting with them. The USA has traditionally provided Borisov with strong support.

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Tags: opposition, no confidence vote, BSP, DPS, GERB, Bulgarian Socialist Party, ethnic Turkish, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Blue Coalition, Boyko Borisov, Schengen Area, Schengen Accession, Schengen Agreement, home affairs, Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, interior ministry, parliament, no-confidence vote, GERB, Ataka, RZS, Blue Coalition, Valetin Nikolov, Ventsislav Varbanov, Darin Matov, Dimitar Kolev, Dimitar Chukarski, Kiril Gumnerov, Kasim Dal, Korman Ismailov, Mario Tagarinski, Ognyan Peychev, Stoyan Ivanov, Todor Velikov
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