Bulgarian MPs Postpone Budget Debate amid Fears of Fresh Siege

Politics » DOMESTIC | July 31, 2013, Wednesday // 18:00
Bulgaria: Bulgarian MPs Postpone Budget Debate amid Fears of Fresh Siege On July 23, more than 100 politicians, journalists and staff were trapped inside the Parliament building in Sofia by protesters. Photo by BGNES

After hours of heated debate on a controversial budget revision, Bulgaria’s lawmakers decided to postpone the rest of the discussion for Thursday – as a fresh siege of Parliament by protesters loomed.

The MPs were expected to pass at second reading the actualization of State budget 2013, but decided to play safe and finish work early, as they faced being trapped inside Parliament by a mass anti-government rally once again.

“More and more people are gathering outside,” Parliament Chair Mihail Mikov told the lawmakers at 4:30 pm Wednesday.

They quickly voted in favor of a proposal to postpone the rest of the debate for Thursday.

On July 23, more than 100 politicians, journalists and staff were trapped inside the Parliament building overnight after an unusually late sitting coincided with the 40th evening protest against the embattled Socialist-led government. Riot police attempted to move some of the MPs, including three government ministers, out of parliament on a heavily guarded bus, but protesters prevented the bus from leaving. Skirmishes broke out, leaving several people injured. The officials were eventually escorted out in the wee hours of July 24.

Lawmakers are now apparently determined not to stay late in Parliament. Even though protests also occur in the morning and around noon, the most massive rallies are staged each day at around 7 pm in downtown Sofia.

The planned budget update includes a plan to take a new loan in the amount of BGN 1 B to be used as a buffer for the fiscal reserve in 2014, when Bulgaria must make new payments on its foreign debt. Other funds will be slated for the overdue money for the business and for social measures.

The series of the record-breaking relentless anti-government protests in Bulgaria was triggered by the scandalous appointment of a murky politician and businessman to lead the State Agency for National Security (DANS) back on June 14.

Although the appointment was revoked, the people went on to demand that the Cabinet resign collectively over a string of other controversial appointments and wider concerns about corruption.

The Parliament voted earlier on Wednesday to go on summer break starting Monday, August 5. The MPs will be back to work on September 4.

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Tags: budget, debate, revision, protests, protesters, parliament, lawmakers, Bulgaria, sofia

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