Bulgarian government survives no-confidence vote

SOFIA Wed Oct 2, 2013 3:56am EDT

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SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's parliament rejected on Wednesday the first no-confidence motion against the Socialist-led government over its investment policies to try to end a political standoff that has paralyzed decision-making.

The Socialists and their junior coalition partners, the ethnic Turkish MRF party, voted down the motion, initiated by the opposition center-right GERB party, with 111 votes out of the 217 deputies who took part.

"I voted against, because the real motives of the motion had nothing to do with the policies of investment planning. The real motives of GERB were to block the work of the parliament," Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev said.

GERB were able to stop the parliament's work last week by boycotting it, underlining its power against a Socialist party that does not have a majority in the chamber.

Bulgaria's deepening political crisis has deterred much-needed investment in the European Union's poorest country where the economy is forecast to grow by 0.6 percent this year, compared with 0.8 percent in 2012.

Recent opinion polls showed that Bulgarians were divided over the performance of the four-month-old government.

The ruling Socialists and the MRF party control 120 seats in the 240-seat parliament - one short of the 121 lawmakers required in the chamber to open sessions.

They enjoy the unofficial support of nationalist Attack party, which has 23 seats, for now.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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