Bulgaria's Top Nationalist Stirs Parliamentary Brawl
The first appearance in the Parliament, after a two-week-long absence, of Bulgaria's nationalist leader, Volen Siderov, ended with a scandal Friday and his removal from plenary hall.
The leader of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party was penalized by the Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, for indecent behavior with the harshest sanction – a ban to participate in Parliamentary debates for three sessions.
The scandal started with Siderov shouting from his seat at Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who was answering questions from the Members of the Parliament, during the so-called Friday Parliamentary control.
He was removed after failing to stop the shouting despite warnings. He, however, refused to leave, and a little bit later demanded to read a declaration on behalf of the Ataka parliamentary group, which is permitted in principle. Tsacheva, however, did not allow it on the grounds he had already been removed.
"You are violating the Parliamentary Code and the Constitution. What are you afraid of?" an enraged Siderov shouted, while Ataka MPs, Pavel Shopov and Desislav Chukolov, helped him occupy the Parliamentary tribune.
Other MPs prevented their access to Tsacheva, who replied: "I am not afraid, but maybe you are? You are attacking a lady with the help of two other."
"This Parliament is not a meeting of the Bulgarian Communist Party, even though you have been an activist of this party," Siderov kept shouting, referring to Tsacheva's known past a secretary of a local BCP branch in her youth. The latter earned Siderov the harshest penalty.
"I will cite Churchill - If you are not a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party by the time you are 20, you have no heart. If you are still a Communist by the time you are 30, you have no head," Tsacheva concluded.
The actual quote is: "If you are not a Socialist by the time you are 25, you have no heart. If you are still a Socialist by the time you are 35, you have no head," – it does not mention anything about BCP, and has been misattributed to Churchill.
The plenary session, however, was interrupted twice over the brawl. During the second "emergency" break, Siderov burst in the Speaker's office to ask for explanations. The outcome of the talk was not revealed.
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