Bulgarian PM tables bill to cut state subsidies for political parties to lev per vote

Bulgarian PM tables bill to cut state subsidies for political parties to lev per vote

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government has tabled in the National Assembly a bill that, if approved, would cut state subsidies for political parties that won more than one per cent of the vote in the most recent election from a current 11 leva to one lev (about 50 euro cents) per vote won.

The move follows days of controversy after it emerged that a number of political parties had been overpaid under the current system. Among the five parties that have to pay back the excess sum is Borissov’s centre-right GERB party.

Estimates are that the reduction of the state subsidy would save Bulgaria’s coffers between 16 million and 18 million leva. The proposal is that the legislation would take effect on July 1 2019.

Borissov paid an unscheduled visit to Parliament on the morning of June 6 to announce the government proposal, which came a few days after the Prosecutor’s Office said that it had found irregularities in the implementation of the system.

Borissov said that he had met the GERB parliamentary group to discuss the proposal. He said that the change was being proposed to stop any speculation that GERB is benefiting from state funds.

“Let’s see how the parties will manage in the coming years, how they will pay for the elections, how they will pay to opinion pollsters, political scientists and everything else,” Borissov said, adding that he hoped that all parties would support the bill.

“With the money that will be saved from this, we will build kindergartens and nurseries,” Borissov said.

Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said that in 2019, savings would amount to about 16 to 18 million leva, and in coming year, about 38 million leva a year.

Parliament’s committee on the budget and finance is to hold a special sitting to consider the proposal to amend the Political Parties Act./ibna