Bulgarian Parliament elects new Audit Office chief

Bulgarian lawmakers voted Tsvetan Tsvetkov as the new head of the National Audit Office (NAO) on March 26, only 11 months after Lidia Roumenova was given the job, as the current ruling majority coalition continued to undo the appointments of the now-departed Plamen Oresharski administration and the ruling axis that backed it in the previous legislature.

Tsvetkov was nominated by centre-right GERB and Reformist Bloc, which form the bulk of the support for Boiko Borissov’s government, but was also backed by the other two partners in the ruling coalition, the nationalist Patriotic Front, which withdrew its own nominee Goritsa Grancharova-Kozhareva prior to the vote on March 26, and socialist splinter ABC.

The motion to appoint Tsvetkov passed with 146 votes in favour, with opposition parties Movement for Rights and Freedoms and populist Bulgarian Democratic Centre both backing the nominee. The MPs for the Bulgarian Socialist Party abstained and the ultra-nationalist Ataka did not participate in the vote.

The appointment of a new head of the NAO was made necessary by the amendments to the law governing the body’s activity, which reduced the size of NAO’s top management from a nine-member college to five – the director, two deputies and one representative apiece from auditor and accountant professional organisations.

Roumenova was appointed last year following the passage of a similar bill of amendments, which increased the size of management from three people to nine, reversing changes passed under the previous GERB government in 2011. Last year’s bill was passed despite wide-spread criticism and allegations that it could hamstring the NAO’s independence and make it more susceptible to pressure from political parties, with some media reports also claiming that Roumenova was among the authors of the bill.

Tsvetkov was a deputy director of NAO until last year’s reshuffle, responsible for financial audit planning and the audits of political parties, later serving on the managing board of public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television. His previous career stops also included department head positions at the Finance Ministry and the ministry’s financial inspection agency.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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