Bulgarian MPs shelve vote on bill to cut state subsidies for political parties

Bulgaria’s Parliament postponed the vote on the second reading of the bill that would cut state subsidies for political parties and remove limits on financing for political parties from businesses and individuals.

The vote was on the National Assembly’s agenda for June 21, but was struck down on the grounds that MPs did not receive the budget committee’s report on the bill. The committee approved the draft bill at a meeting on June 20.

Perhaps more significantly, the bill was also harshly criticised by Valeri Simeonov, one of three co-leaders of the United Patriots coalition, the grouping of three far-right and ultra-nationalist parties that is the minority partner in the government of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.

Simeonov asked for the vote to be delayed in order for the bill to be discussed inside government coalition. Speaking to public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) on its breakfast show on June 21, he said that the bill would “completely liquidate multi-party democracy” and lead to a two-party political model.

“We sat down with VMRO’s leadership yesterday and concluded that this bill should not progress to a vote and should be at least postponed for consultations with all political forces,” Simeonov told BNT.

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