Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev vetoed amendments to the Competition Protection Act approved at second reading by the National Assembly on June 18, his office said on June 30 2014.
The bill also made changes to the Foodstuffs Act, namely the provisions governing relations between retail chains and their suppliers. Plevneliev welcomed Parliament’s desire to “create the conditions for the development of produce growth, delivery and distribution, as well as preventing unfair trade practices” but said that the bill was missing an assessment of the impact that the changes would have on consumers.
This is the latest occasion that Plevneliev, elected in late 2011 as president on the ticket of centre-right party GERB but since taking office careful to steer a non-partisan course, has sent back legislation to the National Assembly – in which since May 2013 the ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms has held sway – for further reconsideration.
In all previous cases, the ruling axis has exercised its constitutional prerogative to overturn the President’s veto, and it is expected to do so again with the latest bill before the 42nd National Assembly is prorogued on August 6.
Plevneliev’s office said that it is “unacceptable not to have a preliminary assessment how the new regulations will reflect on the public and especially the most vulnerable social groups.”
Furthermore, some of the regulatory changes were unclear and liable to “cause chaos in the relations between food retailers and their suppliers. Instead of preventing unfair trade practices, some of the changes will create obstacles for turnover, which will have a negative impact on the economy.”
Plevneliev’s latest veto is the sixth this year, following similar decisions concerning amendments to the law regulating medicine exports, amendments to the law governing the National Audit Office, the imposition of limits on foreigners buying land, as well as sections of the new Election Code and the new Interior Ministry Act.
He also exercised his power three times in 2013 with regard to acts passed by the current legislature after it took office following elections in May 2013 – vetoing amendments to the eavesdropping law, the Budget revision in August 2013 and amendments to laws on foreigners and citizenship – but only in that last case was Parliament unable to overturn the veto.