Bulgaria's Deputy PM Urges Parliament to Adopt Anti-Corruption Bill

Domestic | December 16, 2016, Friday // 11:34|  views

The Bulgarian Parliament's headquarters in downtown Sofia. File photo, BGNES

Outgoing Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva has rejected claims from several parties that Parliament should not adopt a disputed anti-corruption bill as it is "running out of time."

Kuneva, who has overseen the work of a team drafting the bill, has tied support of her Bulgarian of Citizens Movement (DBG) party for any new government to the adoption of the bill.

Her text, which is aimed at cracking down on low- and high-level graft, was approved on first reading in the summer, but was dropped from Parliament's agenda by the the legislature's Legal Affairs Committee earlier this week as its members cited "lack of time".

Parliament could be dissolved within just over a month, after President-elect Rumen Radev takes over on January 22, as part of his move to call an early election.

"If the law is in the interest of voters, how come that the necessary [steps] cannot be made in the time left, after all the National Assembly [Parliament] will keep working after New year so that the law everyone says is of utmost need gets adopted," Kuneva has told Focus Radio.

She has cited one of the matters of dispute among lawmakers, with her team and party insisting those targeted by a graft investigation should be able to prove the origin of her money and opponents claiming this should be left to institutional scurity, as the law stipulates now.

Rosen Plevneliev, then incumbent President, cannot dissolve the legislature as he is barred from doing so less than three months before his term expires.

If the Reformist Bloc, a coalition of which Kuneva's DBG is part, fails to form a government within the next days, Bulgaria heads toward an early election.

The anti-corruption bill has been among Kuneva's biggest causes since the RB joined a coalition government in November 2014.

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Tags: Meglena Kuneva, DBG, Reformist Bloc, anti-corruption, political crisis


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