With the votes of GERB-SDS, WCC-DB and DPS, the Bulgarian parliament rejected the changes to the Law on the direct participation of state power and local self-government, which was introduced by “Vazrazhdane”. The pro-Russian party proposed that any parliamentary group, regardless of its size, be able to submit proposals for holding a referendum, reduce the number of signatures required to initiate a poll – from 200,000 to 50,000, remove the restrictions on topics and the lower threshold for recognition of one referendum as valid.
In the debate that lasted more than two and a half hours, the opposition accused the rulers of disrespecting the will of the people, and the rulers accused them of populism and the pursuit of political dividends.
In his reaction, the leader of the “Vazrazhdane” party, Kostadin Kostadinov, accused the rulers of disrespecting the will of the people:
“If we really want Bulgaria to become a leading European country, we must first of all give the right to the Bulgarian people to decide their own destinies. And a very important condition is that they can decide through a referendum every single question, including the one about the membership of Bulgaria in the EU and NATO”.
For his part, WCC-DB deputy Yavor Bozhankov suspected the “Vazrazhdane” party of attempts to politically abuse the subject of referendums:
“We have the right to consult, we have the obligation to do it in good faith. However, some abuse this right. They use the referendum in their own interests, they use it to bring tension, division, to destabilize their country.”
Due to mutual insults, deputies Radostin Vasilev and Iskren Mitev received the punishment “warning”.