Bulgarian Lawmakers Agree to Update State Budget
Bulgarian MPs approved budget amendment proposals during an emergency session on Tuesday afternoon.
Revisal of National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK)'s funds for 2014 by BGN 225 M was also supported by a majority.
The motion on the state budget was backed by 117 votes, with 61 against, all of them from the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
Changes to the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria Act were adopted at first reading following five-hour-long debates, after the Council of Ministers announced on July 16 plans to overhaul both the national expenditure and that of the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK), which runs a deficit worth hundreds of millions of BGN.
MPs from the BSP, a senior partner in the cabinet in resignation, defied government proposals, reiterating its stance that is not necessary to overhaul the budget.
Under the ministers' draft bill, current account deficit will be raised by BGN 725 M and will grow to 2.7% of the 2014 projected output. The cap of Bulgaria's public debt will be increased by additional BGN 3.4 B to reach BGN 21 B and thus provide the financing needed to bail out the Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) if no other investors choose to intervene.
The extraordinary session, scheduled for 13:00 GMT, was held upon a proposal by the co-ruling Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), the socialists' partner in the cabinet.
BSP lawmakers left the plenary hall after the liberals called for Tuesday's meeting last week, but the motion was passed with the support of opposition GERB.
Both the DPS and GERB backed the amendments.
President Rosen Plevneliev had also called for an update which could provide help to the upcoming caretaker cabinet, as it does not have any budgetary competences.
On Tuesday, after the bill was given the green light, Plevneliev praised politicians for having passed the legislation.
Budgetary changes are expected to be among the last issues for the 42nd National Assembly, which is due to be dissolved on August 6, two weeks after Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's government stepped down.
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