Socialists' Mandate Fails For Now, New Vote on Thursday

Politics | July 27, 2005, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Socialists' Mandate Fails For Now, New Vote on Thursday A new vote for the draft government was scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 am local time, as earlier Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev (right) became Bulgaria’s new PM. Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia News Agency)

The minority coalition government, formed by the Socialists and the ethnic Turks party, failed to be elected in Parliament, hours after Socialist leader Stanishev was narrowly chosen prime minister.

At the request of the coalition partners, who claim the ballot was rigged, a new vote for the draft government was scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 am local time.

On the ballots of the second vote round there were two items - first, structure of the Council of Ministers, and second, composition of the Council of Ministers. There were three boxes beside each of the two sections to be ticked.

As many as 119 MPs voted "for" the structure of the Council of Ministers, while 119 voted "against" it. The composition of the Council of Ministers was supported by 117 MPs, whilst 118 opposed it. Four MPs have voted only for cabinet's structure, and one - only for its composition, which makes five invalid ballots.

Hours ealier Socialist PM candidate Sergey Stanishev squeezed into power with a narrow vote - a total of 120 MPs voted for him and 119 MPs voted against. No one abstained. The only one to skip the key voting was Anastasia Mozer, one of the leaders of the Bulgarian People's Union. She was absent due to serious personal reasons.

In case MPs reject the draft cabinet on Thursday, Stanishev is to be deprived of his mandate and President Georgi Parvanov should hand it to the 25 June elections' runner-up Simeon II National Movement (SIINM).

On Tuesday the vote was blocked after all opposition MPs staged a walkout of parliament in an unprecedented voting debacle.

A total of 239 out of 240 MPs attended the second bid to elect Bulgaria's new government on Wednesday. Under the pressure of the election winners, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and their junior partner the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and the last-minute support of the Bulgarian People's Union, the tiniest rightist party, the parliament supported a secret vote. During a roll call vote Evgeny Zhekov, Ivan Stamatov and Nikolay Kanchev from the Bulgarian People's Union voted in favor of the secret ballot.

Though counting on the secret vote to poach votes, the Socialists, who won the most votes in the June 25 elections, failed to muster support for a cabinet with the ethnic Turks ally the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The coalition is four votes short of majority in the 240-seat parliament.

MPs from the Simeon II National Movement and the nationalistic coalition "Attack" were said to be the most likely to back the socialists' draft cabinet. According to unofficial reports the socialists strategy was that the vote of one group of MPs insure them a secret ballot, while completely different MPs back their cabinet.

All parliamentary forces, except for the two coalition partners, announced their MPs will display ballot papers before casting their votes. Three MPs from the nationalist Ataka coalition however refused to make public their ballots as agreed by the opposition parties ahead of the vote for PM-designate Sergey Stanishev and the draft government. These were Yordan Velichkov, Hristo Velichkov and Stancho Todorov. An MP from Attack, who has quit the nationalist party's parliamentary group, has most probably also backed the cabinet.

Ataka leader Volen Siderov, a staunch opponent of the Socialist coalition with the ethnic Turks and PM candidate Sergey Stanishev, said the three MPs might be expelled from the parliamentary group.

Media representatives were allowed to attend the vote over the nomination of Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev for the country's next Prime Minister for about fifteen minutes.
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