PM Borisov Makes Brief Appearance on No-Confidence DebateDomestic | July 25, 2011, Monday // 17:55| views
During an anti-government rant, RZS leader Yane Yanev presented an A-Z list of the special police operations carried out by Interior Minister Tsvetanov. Photo by BGNES
The last EC progress report on Bulgaria and the six apartments of Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov were the key arguments of the opposition during the Monday debates on the third no-confidence vote against the government.
MPs from the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) submitted the third no confidence motion a week ago.
The vote itself has been scheduled for July 26, pursuant to legal requirements that the procedure should be held no earlier than 24 hours after the end of the deliberations.
The opposition's motives for the no confidence vote, which targets in particular Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, are the "failure of the government in home affairs and public safety, Bulgaria's postponed accession to the Schengen Agreement, the police brutality, and the violation of basic human rights."
Unlike the two previous no-confidence motions, the discussions on the latest one were attended by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who stayed in the cabinet of Parliamentary Chair Tsetska Tsacheva during the 15-minute postponement necessitated by lack of quorum and entered the plenary hall with the start of the debate.
Yane Yanev, leader of the conservative Order, Law and Justice, RZS, party said that the Interior Minister must be immediately removed because it was bound to emerge that he had engaged in nothing but crude lobbying, blackmail and political racketeering of "inconvenient" businessmen.
Yanev insisted that the no-confidence vote came too late and should have been initiated when Tsvetanov was found to have obtained illegal assets totaling over 1 M BGN through the acquisition of six properties.
According to Yanev, falling short of categorically dismissing the accusations, Tsvetanov had shifted the blame to his mother-in-law and father-in-law.
The RZS leader claimed that, in a normal country, the minister would have resigned at that point, stepping down with dignity.
Kiril Dobrev, an MP from left-wing Coalition for Bulgaria, accused Tsvetanov of involving the Interior Ministry in his own personal battles, adding that "the Interior existed before you. I am sure that it will continue to exist after you too.".
Dobrev described the staff of the Interior Ministry as "disgusted" and "demotivated", stressing that the "backbone" of the institution had no respect for Tsvetanov.
Reminding of Tsvetanov's notorious six apartments, the left-wing MP asserted that his failures were made obvious by the increase in household crimes, the decrease in solved cases and the fourfold spike in smuggling.
The current government came to power with a clear vision of what it wanted to achieve in the sphere of internal security, said Krasimir Tsipov from the center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party .
Tsipov remarked that the motives behind the no-confidence vote made him think that the initiators of the procedure must have remembered all of the negative occurrences during their term in office, including contract killings, reluctance of the European partners to cooperate with Bulgaria, burglaries, kidnappings, etc.
The GERB MP insisted that the opposition was relying on the short memory of Bulgarians.
"Following recommendations of our Euro-Atlantic partners, GERB dealt with the overlapping functions of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS) and the Interior Ministry and restored Bulgaria's Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP)", Tsipov boasted, specifying that experience had shown that the change was beneficial.
Tsipov asserted that the Borisov Cabinet had helped to improve the coordination between the different units within the Interior, which had been recognized by the European Commission.
He also pointed out that the current government had managed to boost the absorption of funds under the Schengen instrument from EUR 33 M to EUR 97 M during the first nine months in office.
Lyutvi Mestan, Deputy Chair of DPS, claimed that the no-confidence vote transmitted to the plenary hall the citizens' growing perception of the deteriorated democratic environment over the past two years, which he said frightened GERB.
Mestan declared that the vote could be counted successful even before the discussion had started or the actual vote was held, "unless you are as naive as to believe that the success of the vote can be measured by the achievement of toppling the government, which will most likely not happen".
The Deputy Chair of DPS cautioned about a severe shortage of competence which could not be remedied through the charisma of the leader or through political will.
Mestan referred to the latest EC report on Bulgaria as an undisputed argument in support of the no-confidence procedure.
He said that the Cabinet had failed to combat corruption and the toughest penalty was the indefinite postponement of Bulgaria's accession to Schengen.
Mestan listed other important reasons for asking the government to resign, including rampant smuggling and the failure to secure the normal functioning of key social systems amid a complicated crime situation.
According to the DPS MP, police brutality in the country is being peddled for counteraction to crime.
"Bulgaria has a problem with the political umbrella for police brutality", he stated, addressing Tsvetanov.
According to the initiators of the no-confidence motion, the excessive use of special surveillance devices, which had failed to produce valid evidence in court, signaled persecution of political opponents.
Another key reason for demanding Tsvetanov's resignation was his alleged attempt to "subject the judiciary to his personal will".
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