Bulgaria's opposition is drawing attention to the newly established ministry for investment planning.
By Tzvetina Borisova for Southeast European Times in Sofia -- 01/10/13
"Protests do not aim to support or identify themselves with any political power," Anna Krasteva, a political scientist and a professor at the New Bulgarian University told SETimes. [AFP]
Bulgarian officials expect the parliament will resume its normal work this week after the opposition GERB party called for a no-confidence vote and then boycotted two efforts to hold a vote.
The vote against the newly established ministry of investment planning set up by Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, who took office in May, was called by deputies of the formerly ruling GERB party that was unable to form a cabinet after the May 12th election. GERB lawmakers said they chose not to attend the no-confidence vote when they found out that the MPs of the far-right Ataka party were not present.
GERB has 97 members in the 240-seat parliament. The party's motion addresses the government's policy over the new ministry's investment activities.
"This ministry has existed for nearly four months and nobody has explained yet why it has been set up, what policies it will implement, what its priorities will be," Alexander Nenkov, a GERB lawmaker and one of the people who submitted the vote in parliament, told SETimes. He said creation of the new ministry would do nothing but act as "an additional administrative burden."
Nenkov explained that his party planned to file a no-confidence motion against the overall policy of the current government. The idea was abandoned because if such a vote failed it would have practically cemented the current government. Under Bulgarian law, a failed no-confidence vote against the government cannot be followed by another no-confidence vote for at least six months.
On the other hand, when a specific policy is indicated as a reason behind a no-confidence vote "there will be much longer time to discuss this policy and citizens will be able to become familiar with our motives," Nenkov said.
Anna Krasteva, a political scientist and a professor at the New Bulgarian University, said filing no-confidence motions against a particular policy makes much more sense in Bulgaria's current situation and is "much more constructive and reasonable."
"The government should be respectful to any no-confidence motion," Krasteva told SETimes, adding that the motion is aimed at "a ministry that just hangs there and does nothing."
Meanwhile, anti-government protests that started almost as soon as the new cabinet took power continue. Recently, they have been accompanied by a wave of counter protests in support of the government.
Krasteva does not see a direct link between the protests and the no-confidence motion.
"Protests do not aim to support or identify themselves with any political power and they have clearly indicated that GERB would not be this political power, if there is such," she told SETimes. "We are talking here about different political dynamics -- one being the normal dynamics of an opposition force, and the second one is the practice of civil protests -- protests that are not looking for any party to get at their helm, especially not in this parliament."
Bogdana Nikolova, a teacher from Sofia, has been attending the protests since the first day. She said there is no relation between the no-confidence motion and the protests and is confident this vote will not succeed.
"Still, I think that this motion made protestors think," Nikolova told SETimes. "It made them educate themselves what a no-confidence motion means, what types of no-confidence motions there can be and what there effect could be, which is a very good effect in terms of education… however, I don't believe it can change anything."
What do you think the no-confidence motion will change in Bulgaria's current political situation? Share your thoughts in comments.