Bulgaria's Socialist-Backed Govt Survives No-Confidence Vote, Set For Reshuffle

Bulgaria's Socialist-Backed Govt Survives No-Confidence Vote, Set For Reshuffle

Bulgaria's prime minister Plamen Oresharski said he will reshuffle his government, which earlier in the day survived a no-confidence vote sought by the opposition centre-right party GERB over its energy policy.
The cabinet will be reshuffled after consultations are held with the two parliamentary groups which support it, Oresharski told a news briefing as quoted by the government's press service.
Oresharski's cabinet is backed by the Socialists' Coalition for Bulgaria and the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and enjoys the tacit support of ultra-nationalist party Ataka.
One reason changes need to be made to the cabinet's lineup is that one of the ministers will probably become a member of the European Parliament (MEP), the prime minister added.
Speaking to reporters, Oresharski hinted that he plans to replace less than five or six of his ministers, the state-run Bulgarian National Television reported.
Earlier in the day, the cabinet survived a no-confidence motion in a 116 to 93 vote. The motion needed 121 votes to pass.
The motion was defeated by the votes of the MPs of the Coalition for Bulgaria and the MRF. The MPs of Ataka did not take part in the vote.
As the reason for the no-confidence motion GERB has pointed to the huge debts accumulated by the big state-owned energy companies, the policy pursued by the energy regulator, which it describes as politically-motivated, and the recent amendments to the country's legislation related to the Gazprom-spearheaded South Stream gas pipeline project, which the European Commission has said are in breach of EU law.
This was the fourth no-confidence motion against Oresharski's cabinet.
Earlier this week, MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan said there is no way the government can serve out its full term. The MRF is open to discussing various options for the future of the cabinet, including early elections, Mestan said in parliament, adding that Coalition for Bulgaria has an issue with the government's legitimacy following Sunday's elections for European parliament (EP).
GERB won the EP elections by a decisive margin, polling 30.4% of the votes. The Coalition for Bulgaria was supported by a mere 18.9% of voters, followed closely by the MRF with 17.3%.

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