Bulgaria’s Parliament started on July 15 the proceedings to appoint a new chairperson of the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) amid heated debates on the House floor. The motion outlining the rules for appointing the new chairperson passed with 108 votes in favour, 39 against and 28 abstentions.
The rules stipulate that nominations can be made by individual MPs or parliamentary groups, but with a tight deadline of five days to submit their nominations. The short nominating period would allow Parliament to make the appointment before it adjourns for summer recess at the end of the month.
The term of incumbent FSC chairperson Stoyan Mavrodiev expired in June and Bulgaria’s laws stipulate that the proceedings to appoint a replacement or confirm the incumbent for another term must be finalised no later than a month before the expiration of the term.
Budget committee chairperson Menda Stoyanova said that she shared some of the blame for the delay in starting the appointment proceedings, but said that it was “better to start now than wait until it is a year or two late”.
MPs from the two largest opposition parties – the socialists and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms – accused GERB, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, of rushing the process and attempting to control the independent regulator.
According to news website Mediapoool.bg, the delay in starting the appointment proceedings was due to an internal disagreement within GERB whether to endorse Mavrodiev for a second term (Mavrodiev was an MP for GERB before his appointment to the FSC) or nominate Deputy Finance Minister Karina Karaivanova for the job.
Mavrodiev’s tenure at the helm of the regulator has seen several high-profile controversies. FSC oversees all financial institutions other than banks (which are the purview of the Bulgarian National Bank) – insurers, pension funds, brokerages and the stock exchange.
The regulator started its stress tests of the financial sector, due to be concluded in autumn, on July 15. During the debate in Parliament, MP Radan Kanev said that the only reason for the rush to replace Mavrodiev was that “the European Commission would not acknowledge the results of stress tests carried out by the [current] failed and non-functioning leadership of the FSC”.
(Bulgarian Parliament photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)