Bulgarian President refers State Property Act amendments to Constitutional Court

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev asked the Constitutional Court to strike down a set of amendments to the country’s State Property Act, arguing that they ran contrary to the country’s constitution and international treaties, the president’s office said on June 4.

The referral was an extension of the president’s arguments he made when he vetoed the amendments last week, the statement said.

Radev vetoed the bill, meant to speed up expropriation of land for major infrastructure projects, on May 27, only for the country’s Parliament to overturn his veto two days later.

Radev argued that the amendments risked achieving the opposite of their stated goal, namely speeding up construction of “nationally-significant” projects and encouraging investment in industrial sectors, and slowing down such projects.

Specifically, he objected to the provision that envisions that the owners of expropriated properties larger than five hectares would not be compensated financially, but through property swops.

“The bill’s motives does not have any arguments why exactly properties with a total area of more than five hectares are targeted, which gives rise to doubts that this change serves specific interests,” he said last week.

This was the 15th time that Radev exercised his veto power since taking office in January 2017, with Parliament overturning the veto in all but one case, when the provision in question was withdrawn.

On several occasions, he followed through with a Constitutional Court challenge, where has been more successful in blocking legislation, such as in April, when the court ruled to overturn a provision from Corporate Tax Act amendments passed last year that introduced a higher tax rate on properties in resort areas.



The Sofia Globe staff

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