Elections 2013: What Parties Promised Bulgarian Voters
Bulgarians go to the polls on 12 May in an early election after nationwide protests against low living standards and widespread corruption forced the government of the centre-right GERB party to resign in February.
Opinion polls have predicted that no party will win an outright majority, prompting fears of a hung parliament and further instability in the EU's poorest country.
What have the ten top parties promised disgruntled Bulgarian voters? We analyzed their platforms to find out what they said about major issues.
Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (known by its Bulgarian initials as GERB)
- Allocating BGN 32 B from EU funds in the period 2014 - 2020 for innovation, education and science, economic growth, youth employment, regional development and agriculture
- Reduce twice administrative deadlines and regulatory regimes
- Allocation of BGN 3 B of EU funds by 2020 for Bulgarian SMEs
- Attracting more than BGN 5 B of foreign direct investment per year
- Allocation of EU funding for the creation of over 12,000 new businesses
- Extraction of gas from the Black Sea, the completion of all gas connections and participation in the South Stream and Nabucco-west
- Extending the life of the fifth and sixth of the Kozloduy NPP
- Keeping a 10% flat tax
- VAT refunds within 7 days of companies with good records
- One-time amnesty for interest obligations to the state formed by the end of 2012
- A 410-day leave for pregnancy, childbirth and child-raising
- Restoration of the monthly allowance equal to the minimum wage
- Providing more than BGN 1.5 B of EU funding and national funding for regional development
- By 2020, all Bulgarian cities will receive more than BGN 3 B for construction and renovation of kindergartens, schools, hospitals, care homes, theaters, operas, museums, cultural centers
Bulgarian Socialist Party, Coalition for Bulgaria
- Creation of at least 250 thousand jobs during the term of ruling
- Drawing up a 10-year program for the establishment of industrial enterprises
- Re-launch of the project for second nuclear power plant Belene
- Suspending the privatization of the state-owned railway company BDZ and Bulgarian Posts
- Increase the minimum wage up to BGN 450 by the end of the term.
- Zero tax on incomes equaling the minimum wage
- Retaining a 10% tax rate on income above the minimum wage up to BGN 4500, introducing a 20% tax rate for incomes exceeding BGN 4500.
- Ban for offshore companies to participate in privatizations / concessions, to acquire financial institutions and media.
- Corporate tax remains unchanged at 10%.
- Lower prices for electricity within certain limits.
- Crack down on artificial monopolies and prevent cartels, introduction of the term "personal bankruptcy'
- An immediate spike in incomes, including a minimum monthly wage of BGN 1000 and a minimum pension of BGN 500
- Instantaneous cancellation of the concession contracts for gold mining and reclaiming of the profit of EUR 3 B per year for the benefit of the state
- Instantaneous cancellation of the contracts with the three power distributors and reclaiming of the profit of EUR 1 B per year for the benefit of the state
- New regulations governing the work of the customs authority and a staff reshuffle which will result in recovering EUR 2 B per year in smuggling losses for the benefit of the state
-The construction of two new units of the Kozloduy NPP plus a new NPP
-A state bank functioning solely to offer fast and cheap loans to small and medium enterprises
-The creation of a cooperative bank with initial state funding for the needs of the agriculture sector
- Eliminating unemployment within 6 months through a special government program aimed at generating employment, government projects and orders
- The creation of a state-funded hi-tech park and a state center for the realization of Bulgarian inventions and patents, which will bring billions of profits
- Shifting Bulgarian economy towards China, India, Brazil, Japan, and Russia, which will give strategic support to the entire plan
Bulgaria for Citizens Movement
- Reducing the number of MPs
- Removing the post of Deputy Minister
- Introducing individual constitutional petitions
- Creating a Supreme Council of Prosecutors besides the existing Supreme Judicial Council
- Measures for streamlining the random assigning of cases in the judiciary
- Professionalization of the election administration
- Automated voting, and subsequently e-voting in elections
- Reducing the number of administrative posts at the Interior Ministry at the expense of police officers
- Conducting “loyalty” lie detector tests at the Interior Ministry and the customs and revenue authorities
- Creating favorable conditions allowing the business sector to open 150 000 jobs in two years
- Eliminating smuggling, which will bring some BGN 2-3 B back into the state coffers
- Extending the lifespan of units 5 and 6 of the Kolzloduy NPP
- Equalizing the level of economic development of southern and northern Bulgaria, including through the construction of the Hemus motorway
- State exams recognized as admission tests for universities
- Prevalence of project financing in priority research areas and the creation of several large university research complexes
- Adjustment of maternity benefits to the inflation rate
- Free-of-charge pharmaceuticals for children of up to 7 years of age
Coalition ‘Union of Democratic Forces’
-Keep the flat tax
-Secure 300 000 tablets for Bulgarian schools
-Introduce a strict control over protected areas. Remove illegally constructed buildings from protected areas and territories
-Speed up the construction of regional household waste depots
-Alter the calculation of waste taxes
-Urge large retail chains to have at least 50% Bulgarian produce on their shelves
-Introduce a direct election of judges
-Stimulate the birth rate for the first, second and third child through new and more adequate social policies
- Change the legal status of inevitable self-defense by extending the right of protection and removing texts demanding “proportionality” in self-defense
- Change the referendum legislation and introduce electronic referendums
- Adopt a new Electoral Code with the introduction of electronic voting and early voting.
- Reintroduce the direct election of district mayors and district councils.
- Adopt a Law on Sofia.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms
-Broaden the range of the health tourism sector
-Develop a low-carbon economy
-Stimulate the effective use of resources in agriculture
-Stimulate agriculture producers to form unions
-Put an immediate end of the financial genocide against the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and other scientific institutions
-Introduce a new legal status of mother tongues that is in line with the best European practices
- Promotion and enhancement of the national heritage
-Introduce an ecological strategy for the country’s development of the country that includes the concept of "ecology" of the intercultural dialogue. This implies a new understanding of the place and the role of minorities in the modern democratic society
-The movement for Rights and Freedoms endorses a governance formula that is based on a broad political and civil support
Coalition Center – Freedom and Dignity (National Movement for Stability and Prosperity and the Freedom and Dignity Party)
- Attracting new investments through tax breaks, including greenfield investments
- Reinstating freedom of entrepreneurship by removing the dominance of monopolies and the administrative racket; emergency anti-cartel legislation
- Zero tolerance for corruption and contraband – they eat our income and hurdle the business
- Freezing the 10% tax
- Reducing the tax for individual merchants to 10%
- Reducing administrative taxes; alleviating licensing and certification procedures
- Equality before the law for the State, the private companies, banks and citizens
- The State and the municipalities paying on time for projects and contracts and owning interest
- Turning the country’s top universities in scientific research hubs
- Introducing family income taxation
- Introducing a voucher system for children enrolled in daycare centers
- Making the “health card” functional three months after the start of the term in office
- More civil rights, including the right of citizens to turn to the Constitutional Court
- Eliminating offshore ownership of media
Coalition Democrats for Strong Bulgaria and Bulgarian Democratic Forum
-Putting on the fast track payments under the EU operational programs from the current program period until 2015 and the next program period
-Non-taxable minimum income equal to the minimum monthly wage
-Keeping the 10% income tax on incomes above the minimum wage
-Including all sources of income, including dividends and shares, in the annual tax declaration
-Eliminating the discriminatory 15% tax rate for individual merchants
-Replacing the existing system of preliminary permits and checks for the launch of small family companies with a post-control system
-Legislative amendments for increased preventive control and coordination between the Commission for Protection of Competition, the National Revenue Agency and the Interior Ministry in the prevention and the sanctions of crimes related to unfair competition
-Introducing clear and simple rules and preferences for freelancers, craftsmen, individual merchants, companies and family businesses in the labor, tax, and insurance legislation
-Amendments to labor acts to provide flexible opportunities for hiring new employees in times of crisis – hourly workers, working from home, freelancing, job sharing
-Enforcing legally the reduction of bureaucracy and unnecessary paperwork by 90%
-Investments in key infrastructure projects – ports, transport corridors, duty-free and industrial zones
-Transferring the investigation and the prosecution to the executive power
-Reducing the terms in office of the Chief Prosecutor, of the Chairs of the Supreme Court of Cassations and the Supreme Administrative Court, of the members of the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS. Reducing the number of VSS members from the current 25 to 15 -Introducing electronic voting
- A democratic mechanism for recalling MPs, municipal councilors and mayor.
- Stringent measures against legislation serving private interests.
- A ban for MPs, ministers, vice-ministers and regulatory agencies members to work in private corporations and firms regarding which they took legislative or executive decisions, for 2 years after the end of their term in office.
- A right to claim in front of the Constitutional Court against laws that violate the rights of citizens.
- Decentralization of power towards municipalities and regions.
- Mandatory preferential voting in MP candidate lists.
- Concession contracts for natural monopolies such as water services to be awarded only after a local referendum on the draft contract.
- Full transparency of the activity and decisions of the administration and independent regulatory and control agencies, including the National Revenue Agency, the Customs, the State Agency for Energy and Water Regulation: all decisions and act of the administrative agency will be published online.
- A revision of the entire business legislation – an abolishing of double standards in the application of administrative requirements.
- An abolition of all legislative advantages to monopolies, such as the “building facilities” fee of heating utilities, and the unjustified fees collected by power utilities.
- A claim by a customer against money to be collected by a monopolist will stop the execution of the collection; no interest may be accrued until the resolution of the case regarding the correctness of the amount billed.
- The decisions of monopoly regulating agencies for the determining of prices for services for citizens will be adopted only after a public consultation procedure.
- A clear and restrictive description of circumstances which constitute a trade, official or professional secret.
- Stimuli for households and businesses that want energy independence for monopolies.
The Greens Party
- A national referendum will be called after a petition signed by 50,000 voters; a local referendum will be called after a petition signed by 4% of voters in the respective region.
- Control over institutions. Individual criminal and proprietary liability for members of decision making collective bodies (Council of Ministers, municipal councils, etc.).
- A focus on the implementation of e-government. Free electronic signature for citizens and NGOs. Opportunities for e-voting.
- A resolute introduction of the presumption that the main activity of the police is the protection of citizens from violence and encroachment upon their property.
- A revision of the legislation for prevention and control of conflict of interests. A detailed law on lobbying.
- Stimuli for the development of environmentally responsible industry and green businesses, bio-agriculture, sustainable and alternative tourism, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency.
- Termination of state support for industries that are economically inefficient and or dangerous for people’s health and the environment.
- A ban on companies registered in offshore areas from participating in public procurement tenders and projects.
- Introduction of a non-taxable minimum equal to the minimum monthly wage. A retention of the 10% income tax rate for income up to BGN 6,000 per month. Introduction of progressive taxation for income over BGN 6,000.
- An abolition of the advance tax for businesses. An abolition of the discriminatory 15% tax on sole proprietors.
- Bulgaria wining energy efficiency: in 2035 our country must be independent from imported energy sources, including nuclear sources, in 2050 our country must be free from use of fossil fuels.
- Every citizen will have the right to choose her energy supplier.
- A decentralization of energy production, in which 70% of the country’s energy needs will be covered by family, small cooperative or communal facilities.
- A phased reduction of the share and eventual full abolition of nuclear energy in Bulgaria.
- The creation of an Agency for Protected Areas and Zones.
- The creation of new nature/ biosphere parks.
- An end to construction on the Black Sea coast and the creation of a national park on the Bulgarian Black Coast seaside. A ban on bottom trawling in Bulgaria’s Black Sea waters.
- An end to illegal construction and recultivation of damaged areas in the Pirin, Rila, Vitosha, Rhodopes, Stara Planina, Sredna Gora, Strandzha mountains, and in all other hot points of high environmental value.
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Novinite, I was almost going to congratulate you for the nice overview you've prepared.
However, now that I see that you forgot OLJ, (RZS - Yane Yanev's party - represented in the previous parliament) I have to conclude that it remains poor journalism...
Next time better!