Bulgaria’s opposition today filed its first motion of no confidence against Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party over the administration’s handling of healthcare policy.

 

The motion is jointly sponsored by former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and Lutfi Mestan, deputy chairman of the ethnic Turkish-based Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF)’s parliamentary caucus. The text says Borisov should be removed “due to the failure of the government policies in the health care sector that have generated chaos, the de-motivation of medical personnel, the constitutional breach of citizens’ rights to health care services and conflict of corporate interests.” It was signed by 76 members of parliament, far more than the 48 signatures necessary.

 

According to parliamentary rules, the MPs must debate a no-confidence motion no earlier than three days but no later than seven days after it is filed. The bill requires a simple majority, or 121 votes, in order to pass; GERB controls 117 of the seats in Parliament.

 

 

 

Commentary:

 

Since taking power in July 2009, Borisov’s government has enjoyed a comfortable degree of support from both the media and the public, while the opposition has been weak and disoriented.

 

Political Capital sees little chance that the current no-confidence bill will bring down Borisov’s administration. However, it seems no accident that Stanishev and Mestan called the no-confidence vote just as parliament is opening debate on Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov’s draft budget for 2011, which contains some painful austerity measures. The vote signals that brewing social unrest, along with planned street protests and strikes, will affect GERB’s popularity in the coming months.

 

Political Capital predicts that Borisov will fire key figures in his cabinet (such as Finance Minister Dyankov) in a bid to save his own popularity and let out the pressure from the compressed “social steam.” The process is already under way: Borisov accepted former Health Minister Anna-Maria Borisova’s resignation on September 29.