Bulgaria’s opposition Socialist Party (BSP) filed a no-confidence motion against the government of Boyko Borissov on January 17, citing failures in the area of tax collection, a statement on the party’s website said.
The vote is doomed to fail as Borissov and his coalition partner have enough MPs and will most likely also be supported by the ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedom (DPS) and by Volya, led by businessman Vesselin Mareshki who is believed to be a supporter of Borissov.
Still, the BSP is using the start of Bulgaria’s chairmanship of the European Council to gain popularity and put the government on the spot. Borissov has been facing hard times since the beginning of the year due to numerous protests that coincided with the official start of Bulgaria’s the chairmanship. Many people believe it will be easier get what they want in the first half of this year as Borissov is desperate to secure peace and stability.
Initially, the BSP and DPS were planning to file the motion together and the debate on the vote was expected to begin on January 17. A series of anti-government protests, organised on Facebook – the most popular way for staging protests in Bulgaria since 2013, had also been planned for the same day.
However, at the end of December, DPS chairman of honour Ahmed Dogan made a public statement hinting that his party would support Borissov. Many analysts believe the DPS has been an unofficial coalition partner of Borissov's since Bulgaria held early general elections in March 2017. Following Dogan’s statement, the BSP decided to act on its own.
Meanwhile, on January 17 the organisers suddenly decided to postpone the protests for when the issue will be debated in parliament. Although the declared intention of the protests is to force Borissov to resign, the organisers seem rather passive and disorganised; for example, the starting time of the protest was set at 10.00 am, when most people go to work.
According to BSP leader Kornelia Ninova, there is information about corruption in the collection of excise duties and VAT, about which Borissov has been informed but has failed to take any measures to stop.
Ninova claimed that Borrissov has been hiding the information since his previous government was in office, and called it proof that corruption has been protected at top level.
In a report on Bulgaria in January 2017, the European Commission once again noted that the country had failed to make any significant progress in the battle against graft in the past 10 years. This has resulted in a lack of trust in the judicial system among Bulgarian citizens. Since then, Borissov's government passed several legislative changes, aiming to persuade the EU it has made serious progress in the fight against corruption. However, the EC noted in its November CVM report that although Bulgaria has put a lot of effort into adopting several laws, the government has failed in terms of transparency.
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