Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on February 5 that he had vetoed amendments to the country’s urban planning law, passed by Parliament last month, arguing that the changes would restrict the rights of individuals and companies.
In his veto motives, Radev said that he agreed with the main goals of the legislation, namely reducing the administrative burden coupled with more efficient oversight, but noted that some provisions “reduced the intensity of protection of the rights of individuals and companies.”
One such provision concerned the right to appeal urban development plans, which was “unreasonably limited in time and with regard to the subjects granted the right,” the veto motives said.
Radev argued that restricting the right of appeal to real estate owners directly affected by urban planning changes could potentially breach the constitutional principle of judiciary oversight over administrative decisions.
Another provision on construction permits could stifle entrepreneurship by failing to ensure that local authorities carry out their regulatory duties “strictly, on time and in the common interest,” according to the veto motives.
Radev also criticised that the amendments being vetoed were tabled between first and second reading, saying that this prevented public discussion of the proposed provisions and an expert assessment of their impact.
Bulgaria’s constitution grants the head of state a limited power of veto, through enabling the President to return legislation to the National Assembly for further discussion. The National Assembly may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.
Since taking office in January 2017, Radev made liberal use of this power. This was his 27th vetoed bill, with Parliament overturning the veto on all but three occasions – two cases when the provisions in question were withdrawn and one instance where the government coalition failed to muster the support needed to overturn the veto.
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