Bulgarian MPs challenge land sale moratorium at Constitutional Court
A group of Bulgarian MPs filed on November 1 the paperwork asking the country’s Constitutional Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Parliament motion passed last week, which asked the Government to take all necessary action to extend the current moratorium on the direct sale of land to foreigners until January 1 2020.
The request was signed by 55 MPs, including 36 from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), the only party to vote overwhelmingly against the motion. The rest of the signatures came from its coalition partner in the current ruling axis, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
Approval of the resolution, which was tabled by ultra-nationalist Ataka party leader Volen Siderov, has proved a major embarrassment for the gaffe-prone BSP government and has caused ructions within the party and with the MRF. Socialist Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov berated the party’s MPs in the immediate aftermath of the vote on Parliament’s floor, with party leader Sergei Stanishev doing the same in a behind-closed-doors meeting, according to reports in Bulgarian media.
The resolution has been described by a number of commentators as impractical given the effective impossibility of Bulgaria securing the amendment of its EU accession treaty in this respect before January 1 2014, while other critics have deemed it absurd because it has been common practice for those foreigners who want to buy land to do so through Bulgarian-registered companies.
Commenting on the socialists’ U-turn, MRF MP Chetin Kazak, who filed the paperwork in court, said that the BSP had changed its position as was its right to. “We hope that the Constitutional Court will rule as quickly as possible on this issue,” he said, quoted by news agency Focus.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)