The eve of the Orthodox Easter long weekend found Bulgaria’s MPs still in their benches in the National Assembly – unless they were in one of a series of unscheduled adjournments – arguing the toss in the latest day of controversy over amendments to the country’s election laws. The arguments on April 28 involved not only the substance of the amendments but also a row about a report submitted in the name of the legal affairs committee – which irked opposition MPs who said that there could be no such report from the committee because it had not met. Among the issues to be resolved on the final day before the scheduled Easter recess involved voting abroad. An earlier version of the amendments, restricting the opening of polling stations to Bulgaria’s embassies and consulates, has caused discontent not only among several political parties but also among Bulgarians living outside the country.
Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva twice suspended business on the morning of April 28, the first time over procedural issues, and the second when a shouting match erupted over the report from the legal affairs committee.
Tsacheva called a meeting of the chairpersons’ council, representing deputy presiding officers from all parliamentary groups, to resolve the tensions in the House.
The second adjournment had followed soon after Danail Kirilov, an MP for Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party and head of the National Assembly’s legal affairs committee, went to the speaker’s podium to make a personal statement about the controversy about the committee report.