The Ins and Outs of Bulgarian Parliament
„It was quite difficult to collect information about the work of the National Assembly during the outgoing year but it is extremely important on the eve of the parliamentary election,” told the Bulgarian National Radio Iva Lazarova from the Institute for Public Environment Development commenting on what the lawmakers have done and how much money they’ve spent in 2020.
Judging by the number of the discussed draft bills – 135, 144 decisions and declarations adopted at 120 plenary sessions, 10 of which are extraordinary, it appears that the National Assembly has been working hard. However, there are laws that were reviewed multiple times – these are the seven amendments to the Penal Code, five, to the VAT Act, including three proposals for amendments to the Elections Act.
“Sometimes public discussions are skipped which undermines confidence in the most important institution in the parliamentary republic.
Thus, in the summer the public trust in parliament plummeted by 10 percent, according to the Alpha Research polling agency, while in September the slump was already 7 percent,” Lazarova reminded for Before All radio show.
In 2020, 27 parliamentary committees have been working, of which 23 are standing and four interim, as the most exotic was the committee for the amendments to Constitution. Another interesting committee was the one that had to check out facts related to the suspension of Horizont radio program. It stopped working at the beginning of the current year and had only four sittings, Lazarova explained further.
“The budget of the 44th National Assembly for 2020 was worth BGN 81 million, as BGN 23,5 million was for salaries and additional BGN 11,3 million for administrative expenses, having in mind that the base salary of an MP is BGN 4,200 (€ 2,100) which makes three average monthly salaries in public sector.
According to the MPs’ property declarations for the last year, their earnings were about BGN 45 million, of which BGN 21 million are revenues from dividends of one MP, Delyan Peevski from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms,” Lazarova noted.
In her words, the floor leaders of the parliamentary groups have information about the control over the lawmakers’ expenditures, they know everything about their financial reports but general public has no access to such info. “The community has no access to information on how the lawmakers spend additional funds for their extra-parliamentary activity, such as payments to aides, tours of constituencies, representational expenses and transport fares. In 2020, 86 MPshave not lodged a single parliamentary question, which makes one-third of them and this gives grounds for concern. ”During the Q & A sessions, the ruling party (GERB) and their partners asked the least questions.
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