Bulgaria's Legal Affairs Committee Rejects Fuel Price Referendum
The Legal Affairs Committee with Bulgaria's Parliament has turned down a five-point referendum proposal on fuel prices, pharmacies, and Bulgaria's political system.
Varna-based businessman Veselin Mareshki in June submitted a petition which includes five questions on which citizens should have a say.
The first question is whether state regulation should be introduced in the fuels market to ensure lower end prices. The second concerns a removal of a restriction for a person to own more than four pharmacies across the country to make the market more competitive and also lower end prices.
The other three are issues related to the political system. Some of the questions overlap with ones in a referendum petition submitted by Slavi Trifonov, the host of a popular TV show. Trifonov's poll will be held later this year, possibly alongside presidential elections.
Mareshki, who also owns petrol stations, made headlines over the past months by offering fuels at prices that are considerably lower than those offered by competitors. At a time when the standard diesel price was nearly BGN 1.90 (EUR 0.95) per liter, his was around BGN 1.60.
Ever since, he has argued the state should intervene to place a cap on fuel prices to avoid further abuse, and has alleged free marketeers warning against his proposal are being paid by the industry.
He has also declared intentions to run for president in the autumn.
The petition tabled by Mareshki fell some 2600 signatures short of the 400 000 that would have made it binding on Parliament to set a date for the referendum.
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