After the “evening of signs” on Thursday, in the words of the chairman of the parliamentary group of the DPS Delyan Peevski, and arguments in the parliament continued on Friday and discussions about the vote of no confidence against the cabinet, postponed until Wednesday, it became clear that the government of the “assembly ” will survive, the non-coalition partners GERB-SDS and PP-DB have agreed together with the third frequent participant in the decisions made – DPS, and on the dropping of the derogation for the import of crude Russian oil and the export of products produced from it. This will be done in two steps and within the deadline adopted the previous day by the Security Council of the Council of Ministers – March 1, 2024.
The exception granted by the European Commission to the general EU ban on the import and processing of Russian oil will be removed in two stages, said the chairperson of the GERB-SDS parliamentary group Desislava Atanasova after a meeting with the DPS and the Minister of Finance Asen Vassilev.
On January 1, 2024, it is planned to stop export quotas to Ukraine and other non-EU countries of petroleum products processed from Russian oil. On March 1, 2024, the import of Russian crude pertol for processing at the Burgas refinery “Neftohim” should also stop permanently.
The intentions announced a day ago by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov are for the mandatory use of 50 percent non-Russian oil from December 31, 2023. A month later, the refinery must import only up to 25 percent of the Urals variety, and after March 1, 2024, it will completely stop
However, these deadlines, as well as those agreed on Friday, must be dressed in legal provisions, which will probably enter as corrections to the current proposal by PP-DB corrections to cancel the derogation from March 15, 2024.
Atanasova explained that GERB and DPS agreed to the new transition period in two steps “solely and only so that there are no shocks in the market”.
We have found opportunities to satisfy all the demands of the parliamentary groups regarding revenues and expenses in the state budget, the chairman of the PG of GERB-SDS also stated.
PP-DB promised no longer to vote with BSP and “Vazrazhdane”
We received guarantees from “We continue the change-Democratic Bulgaria” in the person of Asen Vasilev, that in the future there will be no cases in which their group will vote in a different majority with “Vazrazhdane”, BSP and “Ima talikny narod”, Atanasova also announced.
The three political formations have also agreed that they will vote against the demands of the opposition for a vote of no confidence in the government on the subject of “National Security”.
Earlier in the morning, the parliament again failed to gather a quorum after GERB and DPS continued their demonstrations against their partners in power PP-DB. The two formations did not register at the beginning of the meeting a day ago. Today, the opposition ITN and Vazrazhdane did the same. 55 people from the PP-DB and 21 from the BSP identified themselves as present in the hall, and the re-voting on the fall of the cabinet was postponed until next Wednesday.
Who’s twisting whose arms?
Prior to this development, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov commented to journalists that he would not succumb to hand-wringing. “GERB and DPS, who are always together lately, as we can see, have every right to overthrow the government. Let them do it. I will not make a single decision that is not reasonable for the state,” he declared.
The drama with the unvoted final vote of no confidence was part of several different disputes between the parties in the ruling majority – over the derogation for Russian oil, over the majority in the municipal council in Sofia, as well as over tax laws. An understanding has apparently been reached on the derogation, it is very likely that this will also apply to the other two topics
“We support the cabinet if it does the right things and good laws. We are not a party that provides a quorum. This is the first party in an election. And we do not provide a quorum to those who decided to bring down the government, to give up the government just because oil,” Borisov said after Friday’s failed plenary session.
Peevski said to PP-DB: “If they are already in a coalition with “Vazrazhdane” and BSP, let them vote whatever they want. Let them fall, rise, whatever they decide.”
Peevski intervened the arms dealer “Hristov” in the case “Lukoil”
He also accused the right-wing coalition of “having a personal interest in Lukoil”. According to him, an arms dealer mediated a meeting between Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, the head of the cabinet and representatives of the refinery on the subject of its sale. “His last name is Christ”, said Peevski, according to whom “the LUKoil affair will end” and “there will certainly be arrests”.
The whole drama about the derogation played out again this week after the PP-DB did not support the proposal submitted by GERB deputy Delyan Dobrev to ban the import of Russian oil for three days from the villages of the legal amendment.
“The proposal to withdraw the derogation for three days is absolutely unreasonable, with very high risks, shown very clearly by various institutions. This request does not comply with any political logic, except one – to set political traps,” he said on Friday Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, who also declared that he would not succumb to hand-wringing.
And the Metropolitan municipal councilor hostage to the derogation
After his threat of a “night of signs” on Thursday, when it became clear that the budget was also hostage to complex political games, Peevski on Friday pointed to the derogation of Russian oil and Sofia’s municipal council as a bet for the cabinet. The curious thing is that the topic of the majority in the capital came not from GERB, but from DPS, which do not even have municipal councilors.
Boyko Borisov did not comment on possible negotiations with PP-DB and “Save Sofia” about the governance in the capital, although he had already received an invitation from Vasil Terziev for talks on the issue. Such meeting invitations have been sent to all party leaders represented in the municipal council. The idea is to talk about common policies and priorities, as well as the election of the chairman of the municipal council, whose work is blocked, because the PP-DB and SS candidate Boris Bonev is currently not gathering enough support.
That oil, desert, and that money
Instead, on this issue, GERB leader Boyko Borisov again returned to the derogation for “Lukoil Neftokhim” and Kiril Petkov’s statement from yesterday evening that the PP-DB will not back down from their position, even if it means the government falls.
“How is it that because of this oil, deserts, and this money, they are apparently ready for the government to fall, to gather with the supposed opposition parties – “Vazrazhdane”, ITN and BSP, and that this is more important than the government?”, he asked.
After the meeting later with Asen Vasilev and DPS, however, at least for now, the passions surrounding the derogation and the vote of no confidence seem to have subsided.