Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on December 8 to override President Roumen Radev’s veto on the agreement between Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry and Ukraine’s Defence Ministry on Bulgaria supplying old armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to Ukraine, ratified by Parliament last month.
Earlier this week, Radev vetoed the ratification of the agreement, saying that MPs had not adequately considered alternate uses for the equipment, saying that it could be put to use by the Border Police or firefighting directorate of the Interior Ministry.
Radev has routinely opposed Bulgaria’s military aid for Ukraine, frequently repeating the Kremlin’s talking points, such as the claim that sending Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine would diminish Bulgaria’s own defence capability and risked involving Sofia in the war.
The veto drew swift condemnation from the parliamentary groups that are backing the Cabinet of Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov. The motion to overturn the veto passed with 161 votes in favour and 55 opposed.
The agreement provides for Bulgaria to supply the APCs and available armament, as well as spare parts, all surplus to the requirements of the Interior Ministry. The vehicles were acquired in the 1980s by the communist regime of the time and have been mothballed for decades.
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 the power and this was his 34th veto.
The National Assembly overturned the veto on all but five occasions – four times that the veto was accepted by MPs, including twice earlier this year, and one instance where the government coalition at the time failed to muster the support needed to overturn it.
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