Bulgaria Ombudsman says will challenge 2019 Budget at Constitutional Court

Bulgaria’s Ombudsman Maya Manolova said on January 8 that she was preparing to lodge Constitutional Court challenges to three separate laws, including a provision of the 2019 Budget Act that has already been referred to the court by the presidency.

Speaking to broadcaster Nova Televizia, Manolova said that the Budget challenge was in line with a commitment she made in November 2018. The complaint was about amendments to the Civil Service Act, included in the transitional and final provisions of the Budget Act, that would prevent civil servants that have exercised their right to draw a state pension from continuing to hold positions in the state administration.

This provision breached the rule of law and social state principles in the country’s constitution, Manolova said, echoing the criticism from President Roumen Radev’s own challenge, filed with the court last month.

The other laws Manolova planned to challenge with the Constitutional Court referred to the laws on water infrastructure companies and fuel retail, arguing that both favoured businesses over consumers.

Concerning the fuel retail law, Manolova said that its provisions were also much more onerous for small businesses in the sector, compared to the large retail chains, and risked harming competition down the line, with inevitable detrimental consequences to consumers.

She said that she would be filing the fuel retail law challenge on January 8, but gave no indication on the timing of the filing of the other two complaints.

Manolova, a former socialist MP and deputy speaker of Parliament during the ill-fated Plamen Oresharski administration, has seen her public approval rating rise steadily since being elected Ombudsman in October 2015, prompting speculation she was preparing a bid for the socialist party leadership down the line.

(Screengrab of Maya Manolova from Nova Televizia)



The Sofia Globe staff

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