With changes made at the last minute, the ruling majority of GERB, “We continue the change – Democratic Bulgaria” and the DPS guarantee that they will be able to change the basic law with a two-thirds majority of all deputies, whatever they have at their disposal.
The Constitution itself says that its texts are amended or supplemented by a three-quarters majority of all deputies, with proposals going through three votes held on different days. If the changes receive less than three-quarters, but not less than two-thirds, then they are considered again – but not earlier than two and not later than five months. On reconsideration, the proposal is accepted if it receives not less than a two-thirds majority. More: Venice Commission held preliminary meetings on constitutional changes (VIDEO)
How will the changes in the Constitution take place?
At the first vote, the bill for changes to the Constitution is read and voted on as a whole. For speeches, parliamentary groups will have twice as much time as usual. In order for the bill to be accepted at the first vote, 180 deputies must have voted for it. If it receives between 160 and 180 yes votes, it is put up for reconsideration. It will be in a minimum of two months, but no more than five. Then it will be considered adopted if there are at least 160 votes in support. In this case, there will actually be four votes, the first of which will be preliminary.
Deputies can propose changes to the text only between the first and second reading. They are made in writing, and the deadline for proposals is at least seven days. This is the standard term for proposals, but the rules of procedure of the National Assembly allow it to be reduced to 3 or extended to 14 days. Proposals that “exceed the scope” of the project adopted at first reading are not considered. Then the committee on constitutional issues prepares a report with an opinion on the proposals. More: Slavov on the changes in the Constitution: The acting prime minister will be chosen from among three persons
At the second reading, the bill is read and voted on text by text. If in the first vote it passed with the support of at least 180 deputies, the same number will be needed in the second reading. If on the first reading the “yes” votes were between 160 and 180, the texts with at least 160 “yes” votes are considered accepted on the second reading. The rest are rejected.
At the beginning of the debates, the speaker of the parliament, Rosen Zhelyazkov, asked the petitioners about the possible hypotheses in the proposed rules, related to the necessary majority of 180 people’s representatives. Zhelyazkov explained that if three-quarters of the votes of the people’s representatives are not collected during the re-voting in the first reading, it will be postponed for another two months.
The leader of “Vazrazhdane”, Kostadin Kostadinov, stated that what was read, in practice, violates the Constitution. “We start with sabotage at the very beginning of a process, added the deputy. In my opinion, this proposal should not be voted on now in its form,” said Kostadinov. More: Kiril Petkov revealed the plan for the first reading of the constitutional amendments
Nadezhda Yordanova “Continuing the Change – Democratic Bulgaria” answered that the two-thirds majority is in response to the constitutional requirement that the changes be voted on by a minimum of two-thirds of the people’s representatives.
“You start writing amendments to the Constitution, you cannot write the procedural rules,” commented Georgi Svilenski from BSP. He insisted that this point be postponed and that three months be given for the adoption of procedural rules.
Radomir Cholakov from GERB, who is the chairman of the commission on constitutional issues, pointed out that he twice drew attention to the fact that these are the rules adopted by the 43rd National Assembly. More: Nadezhda Yordanova said whether our membership in the EU and NATO should be included in the Constitution
Cholakov noted that it is a fact that whenever the Constitution was changed, every representative had the right to submit proposals for amendments. He made an editorial proposal in the texts about the possibility that every member of parliament could make written proposals for changes.