Bulgarian MPs Keep Party Subsidies Intact despite Referendum
Bulgarian lawmakers have voted to retain the value of state subsidies allocated to parties after parliamentary elections to BGN 11 per vote.
The decision comes despite the results of a recent referendum in which an overwhelming majority answered "yes" when asked if the subsidies should be slashed to BGN 1 per vote.
The poll was not binding, but Parliament was to debate and hold a vote on the change. Outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who also leads the biggest party in Parliament, had asserted earlier in November his lawmakers may even propose that the state funding for parties be fully scrapped.
The move to preserve the current value was adopted by a 71-10 majority, with 21 abstentions, as MPs were voting on the 2017 state budget on Thursday.
Supporters of the drastic measure had argued it would save a substantial amount of public money in a country where at least a few million people are active voters. Critics had warned it would make parties resort to alternative means of funding.
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