Bid to overturn presidential veto of Foreigners Act amendments fails

A bid by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms to overturn President Rossen Plevneliev’s veto of Foreigners Act amendments that would enable permanent residence or citizenship to be granted solely on the basis of investment has failed.

The November 27 2013 vote in the National Assembly saw 114 BSP and MRF votes in favour of overturning the veto, falling short of the 121 required.

Members of Parliament for centre-right opposition party GERB and ultra-nationalists Ataka voted against or abstained.

This is the first time that the 42nd National Assembly, elected in May 2013, has turned down an attempt to overturn a presidential veto.

Ataka did not support overturning the veto because it opposes granting Bulgarian citizenship to foreigners.

Announcing his veto on November 7, Plevneliev objected to permanent residence and citizenship being granted solely on financial grounds.

The provision would have granted permanent residence to a foreigner who had invested a million leva (about 500 000 euro) for a period of at least five years with a licensed credit institution. The provision also allowed for fast-tracking citizenship for such people a year after receiving permanent resident status.

Earlier legislation on the same grounds was rescinded after Bulgaria’s security agencies expressed concern that the system could be manipulated.

Plevneliev, explaining his veto, cited potential security concerns and that the “investment” could be shuffled from person to person with no economic benefit for Bulgaria.



The Sofia Globe staff

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