THE RIGHT WING ACTED LIKE OPPOSITION
The first non-confidence vote against the Government led by Sergey Stanishev was rejected in Parliament with 166 cons, 61 pros and one abstention. The vote was initiated by the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) and more precisely, by the blue leader Petar Stoyanov. The opposition insisted on giving non-confidence to the rulers because of their failure to deal with the problems resulting from the floods and because of the existence of lasting corruption practices in the way the relief is absorbed.
There is hardly anyone who could believe that the right-wing groups in Parliament intended to oust the Government and respectively provoke elections ahead of schedule, which by the way should be the final goal of any non-confidence vote asked by the opposition. In this case, the task of the right-wing parties was much more modest and a few of their representatives admitted it readily. It was high time the right wing proved its ability to act in a consolidated manner since it planned to participate in the coming president elections with a single candidature. From this point of view, the current vote was meant to help the right wing strengthen its position as a real opposition power.
As a side effect, the debates provoked in Parliament had to show that Bulgaria's present Government created with the mandate of the Movement for Rights and Freedom was a source and shelter of corruption. The aim was to convince the society that the tripartite coalition and mainly the ministers from the Movement for Rights and Freedom had misused the relief the state allocated for the flood victims.
Did the right wing fulfil its plans?
Just in part. The problem is that the opposition did not succeed in proving reasonably enough its thesis about the existence of corruption mechanisms in the absorption of funds planned for recovery from the floods. The vote debates passed quite apathetically because the opposition speakers had not prepared to present enough facts.
Lyutvi Mestan, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary group of the Movement for Rights and Freedom:
THE ATTEMPT TO DRIVE A NAIL IN THE COALITION FAILED
What is important to me in this case are the political conclusions. The first one is that neither the time nor the topic of the non-confidence vote were chosen right. I would understand the opposition if it attacked the ruling parties for having somehow deteriorated a successful government policy. But there was no such thing, moreover this is the first government that is trying to systematize a purposeful state policy towards management of crises caused by natural disasters.
The vote enabled us to get convinced that the tripartite coalition is united, although it is the first coalition with different ideologies in the history of Bulgarian transition. It realizes its stability as a decisive factor for implementation of the strategic goals not just of the cabinet but also of the Bulgarian state. I say this in order to underline that the attempt for driving a nail in the coalition harmony by directing the attack only against ministers from the Movement for Rights and Freedom failed.
Stanimir Ilchev, MP from the National Movement Simeon II:
OTHER MOTIVES COULD BE SOUGHT
What makes this vote special - both in terms of time and way of structuring the motives, is not that it was predetermined. The vote was special because of the low level of factological ground.
Besides, the topic was not chosen successfully, either. Obviously, a concrete occasion was sought and was easily found. A deeper reason was never sought. If, instead of using the easiest occasion, they thought more deeply they might have found some courage to formulate the non-confidence vote as an expression of the latest concerns in the society related to the country's membership in the European Union.
Vesselin Metodiev, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria:
WE FULFILLED OUR OPPOSITION OBLIGATION
The entire evaluation of these debates cannot be positive. Their main weakness results from the refusal of the rulers to respond to concrete questions. Still, the positive point was the announcement of concrete information - names of companies, subject of these companies' activities, why they were authorized to do the recovery work since they occupy with trade or food industry, for example. That's how the meaning of the hoop of companies came to light. We saw how much money ran out to this hoop from the pocket of Bulgarian taxpayers.
Eleonora Nikolova, MP from the Parliamentary group of the United Democratic Forces:
WE DID NOT GET INFORMATION FROM THE MINISTRIES
We are not satisfied with the fact that the regulation of the National Assembly limited the opposition's time and there was no significant debate in fact. Besides, the ministries gave no information about the work entrusted with regard to the reconstruction after the flood damages. We only managed to get the information we wanted from the Ministry of Finance.