Bulgarian Audit Office Declares GERB Flood Donation Legal
Political parties in Bulgaria can legally make charitable donations from their State subsidy, according to a written statement of the National Audit Office, NAO.
The statement is a response to an inquiry of the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, and was sent by NAO to the Deputy Chairman of GERB, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
The inquiry stems from GERB's decision to donate BGN 1 M from its State subsidy to the residents of the flooded southeastern village of Biser.
The leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, and former Prime Minister, Ivan Kostov, countered that the donation would infringe on the Political Parties Act and violates the law. The leader of the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and also a former PM, Sergey Stanishev, called it a PR action.
The NAO position was announced for the media by the Deputy Chairs of the GERB Parliamentary group, Dimitar Glavchev, who voiced hope that now GERB's opponents would follow his party's example and donate to the disaster-stricken areas.
According to NAO, parties cannot make donations to NGOs over possible conflicts of interest, but can donate to individuals for medical treatment and for assistance in cases of disaster with the donor connecting the expense with their rights to control the use of the State subsidy.
The law accepts the possibility of a political party being a charitable donor, in difference from public institutions – State and municipal, whose budgets have strict frames for pre-determined functions, NAO further point out, stressing that political parties are not part of the State and their property is not State property.
"Once transferred to the account of the respective party the funds stop being funds of the State and become party ones and can be spent for different goals in the political process," the NAO letter reads.
Last week floods in southeastern Bulgaria took ten victims.
The worst tragedy happened after the waters of the Ivanovo dam bust its wall in the aftermath of heavy snow and flooded the nearby areas. The village of Biser was affected the most.
The cabinet declared Wednesday, February 8, a national day of mourning for the victims.
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