Government Withdraws Istanbul Convention, Parliament Rejects Referendum Motion

Government Withdraws Istanbul Convention, Parliament Rejects Referendum Motion

Sofia, March 7 (BTA) - The government withdrew the Istanbul convention at its regular meeting on Wednesday. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that ratification is postponed until a ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Borissov said that the decision had been prompted by opposition on the part of GERB's coalition partner in the government and the two largest religious denominations.

"Fears have been instilled in the public. We are a government elected by the people and we have an obligation to heed to the people," said the Prime Minister.

He said that now that the convention has been withdrawn the Constitutional Court will pronounce and a debate will be launched and all arguments will be weighed.

Parliament voted down 121-67 with 23 abstentions a motion for a referendum on the
ratification of the convention submitted by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). The proposed question was "Do you support the ratification by the National Assembly of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence?".

The parliamentary majority argued that the government withdrew on Wednesday the
convention from the records office in Parliament. "The ratification is postponed because we are heeding to the opinion of the public," said GERB floor leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov. He accused BSP of hypocrisy, showing pictures of a vote at a PES forum in Lisbon.

BSP floor leader Kornelia Ninova dismissed Tsvetanov's allegations as 'false suggestions'. She said: "Without a referendum you will resubmit the convention when a consensus is reached."

Hamid Hamid of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms said that his party won't back the referendum motion because not every thing can be decided at a referendum.

Hristian Mitev of the United Patriots said that the debate on the Istanbul convention ended a month ago when the religious denominations, political parties and organizations voiced their opinion. "A large part of the Bulgarian public rejects this convention," he said.

Source: Sofia