Full Smoking Ban Survives in Bulgaria, PM to Stay in Power
Bulgaria's Parliamentary Economic Committee has rejected amendments that would have lifted the country's full smoking ban in enclosed public spaces.
A total of 10 MPs voted in favor of lifting the ban, while 6 were against and 5 abstained from voting.
The lawmakers thus rescued Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who had vowed to resign if the ban was lifted.
Tuesday's vote was accompanied by two protests in downtown Sofia, one in favor of the ban and one in support of its abolishment.
The proposal for the abolition of the full indoor smoking ban was put forth by MPs from Borisov's center-right ruling party GERB between the first and second reading of the new Tourism Act.
At the end of last week, GERB MPs Ivan Bozhilov and Evgeni Stoev suggested that the Tourism Act should be amended to permit smoking in night clubs and in bars and restaurants with separate rooms for smokers and non-smokers.
The two GERB MPs also suggested that small bars and restaurants with an area of up to 50 square meters should be allowed to decide whether the site is for smokers or non-smokers.
Last week, the parliamentary committee on health unanimously voted against another proposal to lift the full indoors smoking ban.
The final decision on the full smoking ban is expected to be made by the Parliament on Tuesday.
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