New Parliament to Hold Its First Sitting on October 27

109 POLITICS - NEW PARLIAMENT - PARTIES - PRESIDENT - amplified

New Parliament to Hold
Its First Sitting
on October 27


Sofia, October 15 (BTA) - President Rosen Plevneliev said on
Wednesday that he will convene the new, 43rd National Assembly
(Parliament) on October 27 for its first sitting. Plevneliev
broke the news after meeting earlier in the day with the eight
parties and coalitions which will be represented in the new
legislature.

Ataka Chairman Volen Siderov walked out of the meeting after the
President allegedly refused to have the event broadcast live by
national media. "I see no point in us getting together without
having the media with us, without transparency, and becoming
involved in some sort of murky talks," Siderov argued. According
to him, President Plevneliev explained his refusal by the need
for balance and calm. Siderov's proposal was not supported by
the other parties, either.

Asked whether he will join the consultations with the election
winner GERB, Siderov said there would be no point in talking
with GERB unless these talks, too, are open to the media.

President Plevneliev said that after the new National Assembly
and its parliamentary groups are fully structured, he will give
a mandate to the numerically largest group, GERB, to form the
new government, as prescribed by law. In the meantime, he will
meet separately with each parliamentary group to conduct
political consultations on the formation of the government.

He hopes the new legislature will get off to a flying start
rather than becoming embroiled in disputes from the very
beginning.

"There is much work to do in the opening days and necessary
preparations must be made beforehand in order to reach consensus
about Parliament's leadership, draw up the rules of procedure,
make decisions about the committees and their leaders, and make
up the parliamentary groups," Plevneliev said. He added that he
has given the lawmakers enough time to make those preparations.

The President will attend the first sitting of the new National
Assembly, which is traditionally a solemn occasion.

The President and the parliamentary parties discussed some
urgent actions which Parliament needs to take, such as the
drafting and adoption of an update to the 2014 national budget,
the planning of the 2015 budget, the promotion of financial
stability by solving the case of the Corporate Commercial Bank,
the urgent transposition of EU directives into national
legislation (including a rule to guarantee bank deposits of up
to 100,000 euro if they are insured against risk in the EU and
in Bulgaria) and some pressing issues concerning the energy
sector.

Plevneliev noted that it is important to have a stable
Parliament elect the next government, which requires good
coordination in the last remaining weeks of the current
caretaker government.

The parliamentary parties said at the talks with the President
that they need to be updated on the implementation of the
national budget in order to make informed decisions about
updating it, Plevneliev noted. They also asked for more
information from the central bank about the Corporate Commercial
Bank, which is inoperable and under special supervision, the
President said.

He welcomed the talks between the political parties and said he
was impressed by the civil tone and the constructive approach
and hopes that the talks will yield results.

Bulgarian Socialist Party Chairman Mihail Mikov said most of the
parliamentary parties preferred another date for the opening
sitting of Parliament - October 22, but the President was set on
having it on October 27. With consultations between the major
parties already over, Mikov sees no grounds for a ruling
coalition between his party and GERB or between GERB and the
Movement for Rights and Freedoms, as GERB itself has indicated.
A parliamentary majority is likely with the other parliamentary
parties, which will lend it a rightist and nationalist touch, he
predicted.

Before meeting with President Plevneliev, six of the eight
parliamentary parties and coalitions were united in their call
for prompt convocation of the new legislature. These were the
Bulgarian Socialist Party - Left Bulgaria Coalition (BSP-LBC),
the Reformist Bloc, the Patriotic Front, Bulgaria without
Censorship (BwC), Ataka, and ABV, whose representatives spoke
briefly to the media before discussing the constitution of the
new Parliament with the President.

Representatives of the other two parliamentary parties, GERB and
the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), stepped inside the
offices of the President's Administration without comment.

BSP Chairman Mihail Mikov said the legislature has urgent tasks
to perform, such as adopting the 2015 national budget. He said
it is becoming ever more obvious that a coalition between Left
and Right is impossible. "Let them go for a right-wing majority,
so we can move ahead," Mikov reasoned.

Krassimir Karakachanov of the Patriotic Front said that in the
future, the debating chamber of the National Assembly should not
stay virtually empty, as has been the case so many times
before. Asked why the Patriotic Front has been attacking MRF and
whether this could endanger ethnic peace, Karakachanov said:
"When someone says something bad about MRF, the Movement always
reacts by invoking 'ethnic peace.'"

According to Roumen Yonchev of BwC, the pressing issues which
must be addressed by the new Parliament include updating the
2014 national budget and reaching a decision about the ailing
Corporate Commercial Bank - these are matters which, Yonchev
said, do not require a functioning executive government.

ABV Deputy Chairman Roumen Petkov said his party wants the
National Assembly to set up a special committee as soon as
possible in order to review the condition of the energy sector
and explain to the public why pricing in the sector is done the
way it is done. Another parliamentary debate which should be
conducted early on is a debate on election legislation, Petkov
said. VI/VE

Source: Sofia