Varna Mayor-Elect Released as MP after 3 Attempts

Domestic | July 10, 2013, Wednesday // 11:50|  views

GERB MP Ivan Portnih, was elected Sunday at runoff as Mayor of Varna with a slim margin ahead and amidst record-low voter turnout. Photo by BGNES

The credentials of Varna Mayor-elect Ivan Portnih as Member of the Bulgarian Parliament were terminated Wednesday.

Portnih, MP from the opposition center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, was elected Sunday at runoff as Mayor of Varna with a slim margin ahead of Hristo Bozov and amidst record-low voter turnout.

Hristo Bozov was endorsed by the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the liberal, predominantly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS.

The MPs approved Portnih's termination after voting three times due to a dispute about the quorum.

Surprisingly, during the first two votes the MPs from BSP and DPS voted against releasing him as MP, prompting DPS Chairman, Lyutvi Mestan, to propose a third vote, calling on colleagues to act responsibly.

Once again GERB were not present in plenary hall as their leader and former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, ordered them last month to not attend any sessions, except debates and vote on the Election Code.

The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Maya Manolova said this was on the brink of violating the Parliamentary Code as it allowed no more than two votes.

During the third vote, 103 MPs voted for releasing Portnih, 3 were against and 6 abstained. All 6, plus 2 against, were from the extremist nationalist Ataka party. The other one against was from BSP.

It emerged after the first vote that 43 have voted for, 9 abstained and 43 were against. DPS MP, Yordan Tsonev, stated that Portnih's release will be voted only when GERB are in plenary hall.

BSP MP, Atanas Merdzhanov, however, requested a second vote which ended with 58 for, 7 abstaining, and 42 against. Despite the vote result sign showing that the decision to release Portnih has been passed, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Hristo Biserov from DPS, stated the Constitution postulated that in order to approve such release 63 MPs must have voted for.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Mihail Mikov from BSP, explained this was not a precedent as in 1992 the Parliament had refused to terminate the credentials of one MP, and the decision had been made by the Constitutional Court after the procedure had been transferred there.

"I understand the DPS attempts to blackmail GERB through procedural gimmicks," was Portnih's comment.

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Tags: voter turnout, Hristo Bozov, MP, Ivan Portnih, Ataka, GERB, DPS, BSP, Mihail Mikov, Speaker of the Parliament, Atanas Merdzhanov, Maya Manolova, Lyutvi Mestan, Yordan Tsonev, Hristo Biserov, credentials, mayor-elect, Varna, Boyko Borisov


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