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of the Republic of Bulgaria
Parliamentary Press Release Regarding the Results of the Project“Civic Control of Parliamentarism”
November 3, 2008

In connection with the publicized results of the project “Civic Control of Parliamentarism “ the Press Service of the National Assembly is making the following statement:

According to the Constitution and the Rules of Organization and Procedures of the National Assembly, the required quorum for the assembly to hold a sitting and voting is fixed at more than half members of parliament to be present in the plenary hall.
A presence is established with the registration of the parliamentary member, at the beginning of the sitting or before the start of the voting.

It occurs that a registered and present in the hall MP does not vote - this is deemed to be his right and way of expressing his will.

Art. 39, para 3 of the National Assembly’s Rules of Organization and Procedures provides a procedure of quorum verification before an impending vote. The procedure gives the chairman or parliamentary group representatives the right to request a check of availability of quorum twice per sitting. If such a procedure was not initiated though, there are no grounds to consider the voting as against the rules.

The Constitutional Court was ceased with the same matter in the past. Its ruling on the issue and practice thereafter is the following: “When considering the compliance with the Constitution of a certain vote of the national assembly, the Constitutional Court bases its judgments on the shorthand protocols of the NA sittings. The Court has no power to start dispute procedures. The NA shorthand protocols are deemed to be official documents and as such every statement, circumstance or conclusion contained in it is considered being of evidential value, including the number of MPs attendance (quorum), these facts can only be certified by the NA itself (Decision 25/1998).
Thus if the absence of quorum is not reflected in the protocols, the Constitutional Court has no grounds to rule over the decision making legitimacy.

Recently a new voting technology was introduced in parliament that monitors the exact number of deputies present at any given moment before the vote.

The new system requires members of parliament to follow the Rules of the National Assembly and to vote with their own cards only.
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