Bulgaria’s Parliament sets up committee to inspect spending by Borissov’s government

Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted unanimously on April 16 to set up a committee to inspect spending of public funds by Boiko Borissov’s government, ministries and state-owned companies.

The proposal was tabled by Maya Manolova, the former ombudsman who heads the “Rise Up! Mobsters Out!” parliamentary group, who was elected to head the committee.

In the 240-seat National Assembly, the vote was 214 in favour, with no votes against and no abstentions.

Ahead of the vote, Yordan Tsonev of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, said that the committee should not be called an audit committee, but an inspection committee, because Parliament is not an audit body.

Tsonev proposed an amendment, which was accepted, that the committee not inspect pension companies, because they are private companies, some with foreign investors. He said that inspecting them would give a bad signal to foreign investors, and in any case, Parliament is not entitled by law to inspect private companies.

A proposal by Roumen Hristov, deputy leader of the GERB-UDF parliamentary group, to lengthen the period of the inspection from four years to 10, was accepted.

Lengthening the period to 10 years should mean also inspecting public spending by the 2013/14 “Oresharski” administration – which had been in place through a Bulgarian Socialist Party-MRF agreement – and the second Borissov government, which had the Reformist Bloc as a minority partner. Hristo Ivanov’s Democratic Bulgaria coalition, the current Parliament’s fifth-largest group, is largely a successor to the Reformist Bloc.

A proposal by BSP leader Kornelia Ninova to impose a moratorium on all the outgoing Borissov government’s decisions about concessions, sales of hospitals, and appointments in the state administration, regulatory bodies and enterprises in which the state has a stake of more than 50 per cent, was rejected.

This irked Ninova, who said that the “euphoria of the large anti-GERB front is beginning to subside”. She asked the “new parties” – meaning Slavi Trifonov’s, Ivanov’s and Manolova’s – why they did not support her proposed moratorium.

As various parliamentary groups proposed to add more and more companies, Tatyana Doncheva proposed that they should not be listed by name, but to include the phrase “such as”. This means that MPs will be free to add new items to the list.

The committee will have three members each from GERB-UDF, Trifonov’s party, the BSP, the MRF, Democratic Bulgaria coalition and, including Manolova, three from the parliamentary group she heads.

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