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(DF) Parliament Votes Through Six-Month Voluntary Military Service

December 16 (BTA) – By voting conclusively amendments to the Armed Forces Reserve Act on Wednesday, Parliament provided for a voluntary service of up to six months in the armed forces reserve. The amendments, which have long been on the platform of the power-sharing nationalist party VMRO, were sponsored by the government. The funding for the voluntary military service will come from the budget of the Defence Ministry. The voluntary service includes initial military training, special military training and performing tasks within various military formations. Reservists will be entitled to eight days in paid annual leave. Reservists and reserve equipment will be called into active duty when the level of combat readiness of the armed forces is raised. Bulgarian nationals who have undergone voluntary military service in the reserve will be given a preference when applying for a job in the public sector, including the national security system, provided that they have obtained equal results with other applicants in the competition. According to socialist MP Kolyo Milev it is unclear how many people will serve voluntarily for a monthly wage of 1,000 leva and whether employers are ready to let someone go to do voluntary service and then rehire them. MP Milen Mihov of United Patriots said that in 2019 the number of armed forces recruits exceeded those who left service. In ongoing competitions the number of applicants for professional military service exceeded 10 times the number of available positions in some types of armed forces. He said that the voluntary military service is an opportunity for someone to transition to a professional military service or fill up the reserve. RY/PP