Bulgarian Parliament overturns presidential veto on State Property Act amendments

Bulgarian MPs voted on October 24 to overturn President Roumen Radev’s veto on the bill of amendments to the State Property Act. The motion carried with 145 MPs in favour and 65 opposed.

The two parties in the government coalition, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB and the United Patriots group of nationalist parties, were joined by the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and populist Volya, the smallest party in the National Assembly, in overturning the presidential veto. Only the main opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party voted against the motion.

Radev vetoed the bill on October 17, a week after it was passed by Parliament, arguing that the changes would open the door for “stealth privatisation” of state-owned companies.

Bulgaria has a list of state enterprises, deemed to have “strategic importance for the economy or high social importance”, which can be put into private hands only if Parliament votes to exclude them from that list.

Provisions in the recently-passed amendments remove the interdiction on using assets held by these companies as contributions in kind to other state or municipality owned enterprises, Radev said in his veto motives.

These provisions contradicted the purpose of the list, since the company that the assets were transferred to could be privatised with those assets, in some cases without needing explicit Government approval.

“This creates a real risk for stealth privatisation of companies that should be subject to privatisation only upon approval by the National Assembly,” Radev said.

Radev’s veto was the sixth so far this year, with Parliament overturning all but one.

(Bulgarian Parliament photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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