Parliament Back in Session after Year-end Recess

НС - заседание
Photo: БТА

January 13 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Parliament Wednesday is
back in session after its year-end recess. In an address to MPs,
 National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva urged parties to
avoid suggestions about manipulation of the upcoming general
elections, as this is hurting democracy. The political groups
read their traditional declarations to set out their priorities
during the new session, and thе upcoming elections featured
prominently in all declarations. 

This is the last session of this 44th legislature. A new
parlament will be elected in elections which are expected to
take place between Mach 28 and May 28.

MPs from the opposition BSP for Bulgaria did not register for
the start of the sitting.

"I call on you to avoid suggestions about a risk of manipulation
 of the election results. The biggest loser will be Bulgarian
democracy," said Parliament Chair Tsveta Karayancheva in her
opening remarks.  She expressed the same message on Thursday
when representatives of the ruling party GERB met with President
 Rumen Radev within the framework of his election consultations.

Karayancheva recalled that as early as in September 2020 she
sent letters to EU insitutions to invite observer missions at
Bulgaria's general elections.

In their declaration in Parliament, GERB reiterated their call
to the President to decide as quickly as possible on the date of
 the elections. GERB floor leader Daniela Daritkova said: "The
last session begins in the situation of a health crisis, caused
by the coronavirus. It is this and not protests and attacks by
the parliamentary and extraparliamentary opposition or attacks
by various oligarchs that is the big challenge before the ruling
In her words, the health crisis and the mitigation of its
effects on the economy are the only possible priority for the
government and the ruling coalition.

She slammed the opposition for aiming "to throw the state and
society into chaos and anarchy" and thanked fellow MPs who
ensured the normal work of Parliament by attending sittings. She
 also recalled the President's appeal at the start of the
previous session of this Parliament for the legislature to be
disbanded and thus leave the country "without Parliament and
regular government at the peak of the health crisis". Time has
proven "the groundlessness of his calls then", and the incumbent
 took on the political negatives of not coming down in order to
be able to taking important decisions at a difficult time for
the country and avoid a political crisis on top of the health
and economic crisis, said Daritkova.

According to her, during last summer and autumn's protests GERB
heeded to the voice of protesters but "at the same time saw the
inability of their political leadership for formulate
significant goals".
Now GERB are ready to see the assessment of Bulgarian voters,
Daritkova said.

She underscored two things among the accomplishments of her
party: a double increase of teachers' salaries, which put
education among the principal long-term priorities of the
nation, and the consensus on the conditions for the start of
negotiations between the EU and the Republic of North Macedonia,
 With regards to the latter she thanked GERB's opponents for the

The GERB floor leader called for the preservation of the few
fields of politicall consensus after the elections and said that
 despite the political differences GERB "will continue to view
the opposition not as enemies but as opponents and
representatives of large groups of Bulgarian society."
As she presented her group's declaration, Socialist leader
Kornelia Ninova said they demand a report by the government
about the state it is leaving Bulgaria in: "not one for the
purposes of television, but a real report". "During these four
years, you continued to build two parallel Bulgarias: one
televized and one real," said Ninova. "We know that after the
elections there will be a change," the socialist leader said,
adding that BSP will work for fair and transparent elections.

Ninova said there are two key tasks during the remaining months
in Parliament's life: demand a report on how much money has been
 spent during the ongoing crisis and how many people helped, and
 see the adoption of National Recovery and Resilience Plan. She
highlighted the Socialists' proposals for the plan.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) said that these
elections will decide how fast the country will cope with the
crisis which according to them "is created by GERB via the GERB
virus which destroys democracy". MRF leader Mustafa Karadayi
said that the upcoming elections are probably the most important
 since 1989 when Bulgaria began its transition to democracy and
market economy. He blasted the ruling GERB party for their
government calling it "a contraductory and inconsisent period in
 our latest history - a government without reforms and
Also, Karadayi spoke about "a democracy in decline", "increasing
 tension", "growing division", "outrageous spending" and a
budget serving election purposes.  The changes voted to the
Election Code have created conditons for the election process to
 be hampered and for political instability after the vote, which
 is typical of GERB's government, said Karadayi.  According to
him, while the existing problems are not solved, more problems
are created.

The crisis in its health, social, economic, institutional and
political aspects requires tough measures and actions, he said.
To that the MRF leader added the growing distrust in the
election process, which calls for responsible attitude for the
sake of peace and democracy. The MRF called on all politicians
and the civil society to get involved for the sake of Bulgaria's

Similarly to BSP for Bulgaria, the MRF are sure that the
elections will put an end to GERB's government.

The MRF will responsibly present its pogramme for accelerated
economic development, will work for clean air, water and energy,
 high technology, and will participate actively to implement
EU's Green Deal ackage, it transpired from Karadayi's statement.

The MRF leader urged participants in the election not to forget
that dialogue after the elections depends on the rhetoric during
 the election campaign.

United Patriots said that they won't allow a change in the
election rules on the eve of the parliamentary elections. United
 Patrios co-floor leader Iskren Vesselino said that the
coalition is categorically opposed to the idea about postal
voting and the scrapping of the limit of 35 voting sections in
non -EU countries.

"Today, we won't allow for someone to make a present of 10-15
MPs to the new old favourites of the Turkish sultan: the MRF,"
said Vesselinov.
Among the priorities of the last parliamentary session he
outlined three aspects of the Penal Code: criminalizing
preaching of radical Islam, broadening the scope of justified
self-defence, reformulating the definition of minor theft, as
well as the adoption of the personal bankruptcy act.

Volya spoke about the past parliamentary session and concrete
legislation proposals (free meddicines for children and
pensioners and a chain of state owned  petrol stations), and
about the date of the elections, which according to Volya deputy
 floor leader Krastina Taskova doesnТt matter because her party
always works for the people.

Taskova also said: "Today you once again speak about unity but
what you are doing is just the opposite. We'll once again say to
 you: before we unite for the sake of a better future for the
people and the state, we should get divided." She added that
this division should be made according to one principle:
capability, knowledge and a desire to make Bulgarians richer and

New Left Political Project

Independent MP Krassimir Yankov announced the establishment of a
 new left political project - the Bulgarian Democratic Line
party. He made a statement from the parliamentary rostrum on
behalf of a group of MPs who call themselves a Group of the
Progressive Socialsts, and who are non-aligned after leaving the
 BSP for Bulgaria group over disagremeent with the leadership.

Yankov said that parties follow the interests of their elites
and not the agenda of the people and that the parliamentary
quorum has become an instrument for political pressure. "We
received suppot from an increasing number of people who want
change. That's why we are createing a new left political project
 - the Bulgarian Progressive Line party," he said. LN/PP


Source: Sofia