Bulgaria's Parliament Approves Controversial Budget Update

Finance | July 25, 2013, Thursday // 15:21|  views

Bulgarian MPs approved at first reading on Thursday the controversial budget actualization. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s parliament has approved at first reading a controversial revision of the country’s budget for 2013, citing underperformance.

The motion was backed by 115 MPs, with 88 against and 10 abstentions.

The budget actualization provides for a new loan in the amount of BGN 1 B to be used as a buffer for the fiscal reserve in 2014, when Bulgaria must make new payments on its foreign debt. Other funds will be slated for the overdue money for the business and for social measures.

Economic growth is revised down to 1% from the original figure of 1.9%, while deficit increases by BGN 493 M, accounting for 2% of forecasted GDP.

Bulgarian lawmakers returning to work Thursday to vote on the draft budget 2013 update on first reading after they were forced to postpone their sitting a day earlier in the aftermath of clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters.

The latter sat on the pavement and erected barricades near the Parliament late Tuesday into Wednesday to prevent lawmakers and ministers discussing in 3 committees the budget update from leaving the building. Media reporters inside also ended up being under siege.

Some 10 people were injured, but no serious injuries were reported.

This prompted the Speaker of the Parliament, Mihail Mikov, to call on colleagues to not show up for work on Wednesday for safety reasons.

Wednesday evening was also the first time when lawmakers from the formerly-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, returned to the Parliament to participate in the budget update debates after their leader and former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, ordered them to not attend plenary hall sittings.

Thursday marks day 42 in Bulgaria of protests against the Socialists-endorsed Cabinet of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski.

After Tuesday clashes, the rally on day 41st (Wednesday) was once again peaceful.

The series of rallies was triggered by the appointment of notorious media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) back on June 14, but the protesters were not appeased by the subsequent cancellation of the decision and went on to demand the resignation of the Socialist-led cabinet over ties with oligarchs.

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Tags: 2013, budget, Boyko Borisov, GERB, GDP, lawmakers, actualization, Plamen Oresharski, blockade, revision, anti-government, protests, State Agency for National Security, Delyan Peevski, riot police, clashes, sofia, parliament, protesters, parliament, Mihail Mikov, Bulgaria, Bulgarian


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