Bulgarian MPs passed the 2016 Budget Act at first reading on November 19 with 138 votes in favour and 65 opposed.
The bill was backed by the four parties in the ruling coalition – Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB, the Reformist Bloc, the nationalist Patriotic Front and the socialist splinter ABC – as well as the opposition Bulgarian Democratic Center. The rest of the opposition parties – the socialists, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and ultra-nationalist Ataka and Bulgaria without Censorship party – voted against.
Before the second reading on the House floor later this month, the Cabinet will table amendments to reverse the pay cuts, which prompted police protests, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said.
Bulgaria’s 2016 Budget bill envisions a two-per cent deficit and economic growth is estimated at 2.1 per cent, as well as a debt ceiling increase to 26.6 billion leva.
(Bulgaria’s Parliament building. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)