Bulgaria’s Parliament voted on April 3 to extend the State of Emergency, declared on March 13 to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, by one month to May 13. The motion passed with 122 votes in favour, 47 opposed and seven abstentions.
Unlike the original declaration, which was approved unanimously, the Cabinet’s proposal to extend the State of Emergency was met strong objections from the socialists, the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, who voted against or abstained. All other parliamentary groups voted in favour.
Two motions to extend the State of Emergency until April 30, lodged separately by the socialists and the junior government coalition partner, the United Patriots group of nationalist parties, were rejected.
In order to observe social distancing measures, MPs voted in two separate groups one after the other.
Parliament also approved at first reading the 2020 Budget Act revision tabled by the Cabinet earlier this week, and a bill amending the State of Emergency Measures Act.
Those amendments refer primarily to deadlines of certain court proceedings, but also allow courts and state institutions the ability to hold sittings by teleconference.
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(Bulgaria’s National Assembly building. Photo: parliament.bg)