Bulgaria MPs' Appointments to Permanent Committees Get Mixed ReceptionDomestic | November 28, 2014, Friday // 13:31| views
Slavi Binev (L), a former MEP, Taekwondo coach and bearer of the title "archon", surprisingly headed the Culture and Media Committee.
Lawmakers in Bulgaria's Parliament have set up all Permanent Committees, amid controversy over how seats are allocated.
Most party group Chairmen remained ordinary members of committees, with the exception of Bulgarian Democratic Center (BDC)'s Svetlin Tanchev, who is presiding over the committee on European affairs.
The senior coalition partner GERB is currently heading nine committees, while the junior partner Reformist Bloc (RB) is holding the Chairperson's seat of five.
Patriotic Front, which is presently supporting the cabinet, is heading three committees.
Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), the left-wing party that sent a single minister to the cabinet to boost its parliamentary majority, gained two Chair seats.
One was allocated to each of the opposition entities Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) and BDC. Ultra-nationalist Ataka had initially refused to take part in any committee, but its leader Volen Siderov later became the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Policy Committee.
Siderov is known for his staunch opposition to the EU's policies on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine and has widely criticized Bulgaria's support for them, arguing Bulgaria should work together with Russia rather than impose sanctions.
The appointment of other MPs to certain commissions also came as a surprise.
Former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is facing trial for alleged illegal wiretapping while in office, became a member of the committees overseeing activities of services and the use of special surveillance devices.
Slavi Binev, formerly MEP and Taekwondo coach, is to head the Culture and Media Committee.
Delyan Peevski, a DPS lawmaker whose appointment to the intelligence service DANS opened the floodgates of large-scale protests in Bulgaria last year, will be part of the Economic Policy and Tourism Committee.
At the same time some key party members, such as BSP's former Defense Minister Angel Naydenov, were "relocated", with Naydenov making a shift to the Defense Committee (where he is now Deputy Chair) from the Foreign Policy Committee where he was initially set to go. Naydenov has recently criticized socialist policies and is seeking to form a separate wing within the party alongside his partner, former Deputy Parliament Speaker Maya Manolova.
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