Bulgaria's President: Overturned Veto Was Not Politically MotivatedDomestic | August 16, 2013, Friday // 19:29| views
Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev, photo by BGNES
A few hours after Bulgaria's Parliament overturned the veto on the budget revision proposal, President Rosen Plevneliev issued a statement, emphasizing that his reasons for the step had not been politically motivated.
Plevneliev started by saying that he had exercised his constitutional right to impose a veto on the budget revision, adding that he had presented his motives clearly, believing that the measure would serve the best interest of the nation.
"I was positive that this was the way a rule-of-law country worked – each body had to stick to its constitutional powers," Plevneliev stated.
"Neither the imposition of a veto, nor its overturning are actions which can harm democracy. The apocalyptic scenarios which had been in circulation in public space over the past few weeks did not materialize. Yes, it is true that the majority can decide to not comply with the presidential veto. This is what the Constitution says, and it is right, because the responsibility lies with those who back the government," Bulgaria's head of state declared.
"My arguments were very concrete and none of them was political. Unfortunately, they fell on deaf ears. I called for greater transparency of expenses, for reforms instead of unceasing calls for co-financing, for greater ambition instead of a standstill in the efforts to make revenue collection more efficient, for ongoing expenses matching ongoing revenues, and for new borrowing tied to growth and competitiveness measures. What is political about my calls for transparency of expenses, reforms and investing for growth," he asked.
"I called for greater transparency and more debates on the budget. I believe that this is what the citizens expect of politicians today. The government and the political parties supporting it had an excellent opportunity today to demonstrate their sincerity and their concrete intentions, thereby dispelling the doubts of a part of society concerning the reasons behind the budget update," he said.
"I am in favor of additional social spending, which is why I insisted that the money be entered into the budget of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. My reasoning about the declared intention to pay government obligations to the business sector was also clear. In order to eliminate doubts, the concrete figures had to be specified in the budget of the concrete state bodies. These principles were obviously disregarded by the majority of MPs who voted," the President noted.
"I would like to also draw attention to another trend which was spotted during today's debates. The veto on the budget update was overturned by MPs who explained, among other things, that this was how it had been done in the past. If today's governing parties criticized in 2010 an approach under which the funding earmarked for unforeseen and urgent expenses was increased, and not the budget of ministries, I do not see why they are repeating it in 2013," he claimed.
"It will be up to each and every Bulgarian now to decide whether today's debate brought more transparency and clarity about the reasons behind the budget update. It is certain, however, that it was a loss for democracy when misconceived statements and abusive remarks were hurled at the head of state by some MPs from the highest tribune," Plevneliev concluded.
Bulgaria's parliament overturned on Friday the presidential veto on the budget revision after securing the votes of 130 MPs. Members of parliament from the ruling Socialist and ethnic Turkish parties, together with the nationalists, united to overturn the veto.
The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms have exactly 120 MPs in the 240-seat Parliament. But to overcome a presidential veto, an absolute majority of at least 121 MPs was needed.
The Socialists and the Movement thus relied on votes by ultranationalists Ataka, who expectedly supported them.
Adopted at the end of last month by the Socialist-led government, the amendments pave the way for a spending deficit of 2% of GDP as opposed to 1.4%, which was to be financed by external debt.
The budget revision 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.