Parliament failed to approve the impeachment motion against Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov by the required two-thirds majority on March 31, halting the procedure before it even got off the ground. The motion, sponsored by the ruling GERB party, won only 155 votes, short of the 161 needed. The proposal was supported by the right-wing Blue Coalition, which comprises the Union of Democratic Forces and Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, as well as the radical-right Ataka party. Some 72 MPs from the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) voted against the motion (Parvanov used to be chairman of the BSP). The impeachment failed because a handful of independent MPs affiliated with the right-wing Order Law and Justice (OLJ) party boycotted the vote. This points to serious disorganization within the OLJ, since party officials had spoken in favor of the impeaching Parvanov just two days earlier.
Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk
The president predictably survived the procedure, keeping his status as Bulgaria’s only politician with the authority and the credibility to openly oppose the government. All other opposition political leaders have either been co-opted by GERB or have become entangled in corruption scandals. PM Borisov either willingly or unwillingly helped Parvanov by stating that the impeachment was the result of the president’s criticism of his government. Parvanov has a higher approval rating than any other politician in the country. He may be able to use this impeachment attempt as a springboard to re-enter partisan politics after his presidential term ends in 2011. We expect Parvanov will either begin the process of establishing a new political entity or will reassert his power within the BSP in the near future.