Bulgarian Parliament approves 2023 Budget Act at first reading

Bulgaria’s National Assembly passed the 2023 Budget Act at first reading on July 12, with 156 MPs in favour, 71 opposed and one abstention.

Over the course of two sittings on July 11 and July 12, the MPs also passed at first reading the separate social security and healthcare funds’ budget bills.

The Budget was backed by the two largest groups in Parliament, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (WCC-DB) and GERB-UDF coalitions, which broadly support the Nikolai Denkov government elected last month.

The predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) also voted in favour, with MP Yordan Tsonev saying that it did so in the name of political stability. He said that the party would table amendments between readings.

The bill drew harsh criticism from the other opposition parties – pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane, Bulgarian Socialist Party and the smallest group in the National Assembly, ITN – which claimed that the revenue targets were inflated and that social spending was inadequate.

The Budget package tabled by the Denkov cabinet targets a Budget deficit of three per cent, significantly lower than the 6.4 per cent envisioned in the caretaker Cabinet’s bill, which was put forth in spring.

It envisions a consolidated fiscal programme with revenues of 69.5 billion leva and 74.1 billion leva in spending, with the deficit estimated at 4.6 billion leva in real terms.

(Bulgarian National Assembly building. Photo: parliament.bg)

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