A victory by the socialist-led Coalition for Bulgaria in the May 12 2013 parliamentary elections would mean a government programme including restarting the Belene nuclear power station project and ending all privatisations within state railways BDZ, Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanishev said on April 9.
Presenting the socialists’ programme for governance up to the year 2017, Stanishev rejected criticism by – among others – Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party of the socialist promise of 250 000 jobs during its term as populist.
Stanishev said that under the GERB government, in power from autumn 2009 to the closing days of winter 2013, had lost the country 400 000 jobs.
“We are committed to an active role for the state, because the political monopoly of GERB crushed small and medium businesses,” Stanishev said.
The Belene restart and the halt to railway privatisation are part of an economic programme that the socialists say will “create a predictable business environment to increase investor confidence in Bulgaria”.
The socialists are promising that if elected, they will begin a 10-year programme to revive industry and agriculture in Bulgaria, “closing the production-processing-sale circle through targeted use of the state land fund”.
Plamen Oresharski, who much earlier in his career was with the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces and who from 2005 to 2009 was finance minister in the socialist-led tripartite coalition government, has been put forward as the socialists’ nominee for prime minister should the Coalition for Bulgaria win the May 12 election.
“If successful, it will be one small step for me, and one big step for my country,” Oresharski said in paraphrase of US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.
According to Oresharski, in government the socialists would abolish Bulgaria’s current 10 per cent universal income tax rate and replace with it a system of progressive taxation. Under this system, people being paid the minimum wage would be exempt from taxation, while the tax rate for income exceeding a level of 4500 leva a month would be 20 per cent. However, in effect – according to Oresharski – this would mean that someone being paid 5000 leva a month would pay tax at a rate of 11 per cent.
The socialists said that their proposed change to the tax system would mean the Bulgarian state would forfeit about 300 million to 350 million leva in revenue.
Under their system, the socialists say, about a million people would cease to be required to pay tax, about 1.9 million would pay tax at the same rate that they do now, while about 40 000 people would pay “a bit more”.
Other proposals in the socialists’ economic programme include completing the e-government project and facilitating loans to SMEs.
On the question of the creation of the socialists’ promised 250 000 jobs, Oresharski said that this would be possible because there would be an improved business climate.
(Main photo, of Stanishev: bsp.bg; photo of Oresharski: minfin.bg)