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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-07-14 10:10:25
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Bulgaria needs international election observers

Political season will die out after the no-confidence motion. The elections and situation will get hotter in September when election campaign will kick off, sociologist Tsvetozar Tomov, manager of Scala polling agency, said in an interview with FOCUS News Agency.  “I expect elections marred by mud-slinging and I will not stop saying that the important issue is not whether Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria will win, whether Boyko Borisov will run for president and what will happen in local elections. The important questions are whether the Bulgarian society has potential to guarantee fair elections and whether there are fake names on electoral rolls,” said Tomov. “Bulgaria needs international observers at the elections more than ever,” opined the sociologist.


Bulgarian opposition to propose no confidence vote

The Bulgarian oppositional leftist Bulgarian Socialist Party and ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) will propose a no confidence vote against the country's ruling centrist-right GERB's minority government Friday. The vote is provoked by what the opposition has perceived as failure of the internal security and public order policy, police brutality, violations of basic human rights, and delay in Bulgaria's joining of the Schengen zone. Even though the vote is expected to be backed by all parliamentary groups except GERB, it is deemed highly unlikely to succeed, as nine lawmakers who dropped out of their parties of their parties over the course of the last two years and became independent, have declared their support for GERB.

Besides the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights on Freedoms, the rightist Blue Coalition, as well as several MPs from the marginal conservative Order, Law and Justice (RZS) have declared they will back the no confidence vote. Blue Coalition members, including co-chair Martin Dimitrov, have stated that Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov should leave his position as head of the ruling party's election campaign for the upcoming local and presidential votes, as they fear he is using his ministry as a propaganda tool. However, GERB's 117 MPs together with the nine independent lawmakers constitute a formidable majority of at least 126 seats in the 240-seat parliament. GERB's former allies, the far-right Ataka formation, are yet to announce their position.

"GERB's parliamentary group stands unconditionally behind the Interior Minister," Valentin Nikolov, a GERB MP declared Wednesday, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio. On June 17, the cabinet of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and his ruling party, expectedly survived a no-confidence vote on the grounds of failure in the anti-crisis policy. 124 Members of the Parliament voted in support of the cabinet – they were from GERB and independent MPs. The Blue Coalition, the far-right, nationalist Ataka, and the conservative Order, Law and Justice party, RZS, did not take part in the vote. BSP and DPS collected 70 votes.


Bulgaria's govt adamant, to appeal Plovdiv fair ownership ruling

Bulgaria's Cabinet has declared firmly it will take the case for the ownership of the Plovdiv International Fair to the highest court of appeals, after the Plovdiv Appellate Court restored the company to businessman Georgi Gergov. On Tuesday, the Plovdiv Appellate Court overturned the ruling of the Plovdiv Regional Court to annul the two increases of the capital of the Plovdiv International Fair company and to return the majority stake in the Fair to the state. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was the first to react Tuesday night, stating that the government will appeal the decision with the Supreme Court of Cassation, while the Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikovelaborated the Cabinet's motives on Wednesday. Traikov declared that the Plovdiv Appellate Court has ignored the fact that the two increases of the capital of the Plovdiv International Fair company, which allowed Georgi Gergov to take it over, were not duly registered, as well as the fact that the Bulgarian Parliament had imposed a ban on the privatization of the state company.

According to the ruling of the Appellate Court in Bulgaria's second largest city, the two increases of the capital, making Gergov's company "Puldin Tourinvest" owner of the Fair, were made legally. The two capital increases were made in 2006 and 2007, reducing the State's stake below 50% and making the municipal-private company "Puldin Tourinvest" a majority stakeholder. In 2008, Gergov acquired the majority share package of the company, which was not slated for privatization, by purchasing them from restitution owners. At the time, Gergov immediately replaced the Fair's management, appointing close associates to key posts under the approving eye of the former, Socialist-led three-way coalition cabinet. Soon after the cabinet of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party came into power, Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, declared he would return the ownership of the Plovdiv Fair back to the State. The first idea was to increase the capital, but the move could not be carried out without the agreement of "Puldin Tourinvest."

In April 2010, Traikov submitted the case with the Court after a probe of the deal involving the Fair revealed a number of violations of the trade and privatization laws. At the end of January, 2011, the Regional Court magistrates made their judgment on the grounds that at the time of the first increase of the capital, the company was no longer a property belonging solely to the State, but a shareholder association thus then Economy Minister, Rumen Ovcharov (from the Bulgarian Socialist Party) did not have the authority to make a single-handed decision about the increase. In addition, according to the Privatization and Post-privatization Control Act, the reduction of the State capital needed the agreement of the Privatization Agency. The Court had been unable to find such agreement in the documentation of the case, making the capital increase a "hidden" privatization.

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