Socialists to Leave Parliament Over New Election Rules

Socialists to Leave Parliament Over New Election Rules

Sofia, February 17 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party's (BSP) National Council decided during a meeting here on Sunday to ask the party's parliamentary group to leave the National Assembly. The proposal was made by BSP's Executive Bureau and was announced during the Council meeting by BSP leader Kornelia Ninova.

The Socialists hold 79 seats in the 240-seat Parliament, which needs at least 121 MPs to secure a quorum and continue to function.

The National Council said in a statement that Parliament, in the face of GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the nationalist National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) adopted electoral legislation amendments, which "violate the law, the free choice of Bulgarian citizens and the fair elections safeguards". "Changing election rules to serve the interests of the incumbents prior to elections has become a vicious practice," the Socialists noted.

Ninova stressed that the proposal is to have all Socialist MPs leave Parliament. She argued that the public approval of the legislature is only 8 per cent and that it is plagued by serious lobbyism.

Ninova put forward several conditions for their return to Parliament: electing a new Central Election Commission, repealing the "shameful" Election Code amendments adopted a couple of days ago in the middle of the night, which basically rendered meaningless preferential voting, restarting a debate on machine voting and reintroducing the right of Bulgarian citizens to petition the Supreme Administrative Court with a cassation appeal.

According to Ninova, GERB are diverting this country from its European future. She noted that Bulgaria probably will not be allowed into the visa-free Schengen area and the Eurozone waiting room due to the national and European security breaches and recent suspicions of involvement of a Bulgarian bank in money laundering for the Venezuela regime.

Ninova said that the recent Election Code amendments, which were proposed by the Movement and Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and supported by GERB, have shed light on the hidden GERB-MRF relationships and that all of that was ugly haggling over party interests. She said BSP was approached and offered to take part in this haggling, but the party refused, which is something it must be proud of, Ninova said.

BSP's National Council adopted an address towards all Bulgarian citizens and political parties calling them to stand up in defence of democracy and rule of lawm and to participate in joint actions in defence of the electoral rights. It remains unclear what such joint actions may be. MY/LN