Bulgarian Cabinet Moves to 'Obey' Law amidst Protest Rallies

Domestic | June 20, 2012, Wednesday // 16:41|  views

Occupy Eagles Bridge activists plant flowers Sunday evening at the site of the heavy protests against Bulgaria's amended Forestry Act. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian government is no longer going to approve draft Bills at its meetings before the 14-day deadline for public discussions has passed.

The statement was made by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, addressing on Wednesday Members of the Council of Ministries.

The directive will be included in the official rules for the work of the Council.

The two-week deadline for public debates is already legally mandated, according to the Normative Decrees Act. Under article 26, every draft Bill must be published with motives for a minimum of 14 days in order to receive opinions from all interested parties, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily reminds.

Borisov's statement comes on the heels of the "Forestry Act" scandal shaking Bulgaria since December 2011, and with particular force in the last week. The draft Bill on the said legislation was officially published for 10 days only, right before the Christmas holidays, and then sent to the Parliament.

Eco activists have insisted since then that the cabinet has violated the law, but remained widely ignored by those in power, until last Wednesday when the controversial Forestry Act was passed by the Parliament.

Thousands of Bulgarian nature lovers and other citizens opposing the Forestry Act have been staging protest rallies in the area of the key intersection of Orlov Most (Eagles Bridge) in Sofia ever since that Wednesday evening. On Sunday they went to the location to plant flowers after being accused by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, of destroying the nearby green areas in the central Borisova Gradina park. Another one is scheduled for this evening as well.

On Saturday Bulgarian President, Rosen Pleveneliev issued a veto on all of its texts.

Two counter protests of people backing the amendments to the Forestry Act were held in southwestern Bulgarian on Sunday and on Monday. The protests are widely-believed to be staged by The "Nature for People and Regions" coalition funded by notorious businessman Tseko Minev. The E-79 road to Greece was blocked for about 15-20 minutes on both days.

The counter protest moved to downtown Sofia Wednesday.

According to Borisov's most recent statement on the issue, consultations will now be mandatory and in debates, such as the Forestry legislation, activists from NGOs would be invited the take part in all discussions while the voting on the drafts will be held only when there is full consensus.

Meanwhile, the negotiations focused on the Forestry Act between Bulgarian environmentalists, the business and those in power are continuing for the third day, after reaching stalemate on Monday and Tuesday.

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Tags: veto, Rosen Plevneliev, MP, GERB, Blagoevgrad, Dobrinishte, Razlog, Bansko, protesters, riot police, police, Simitli, e-79, greece, GERB, Rosen Plevneliev, Forestry Act, protected areas, tseko minev, parliament, Sunny Beach, criminal contingent, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, Filip Tsanov, Nature for People and Regions, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, protest, Borisova Gradina, Miroslav Naydenov


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