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(DF) Parliament Sets Up Ad Hoc Committee on Government Spending in Last Ten Years

April 16 (BTA) – Parliament Friday voted, 214-0, to adopt a resolution setting up an ad hoc committee which will probe spending by the government and by companies with over 50 per cent State interest in the last ten years. GERB dominated three governments during that period but is unlikely to win enough support for a new government despite coming first in the April 4 elections. The 240-seat National Assembly held its inaugural sitting on Thursday. Initially, the Rise Up! Thugs Out! parliamentary group proposed that the ad hoc committee should audit the expenditures of the Council of Ministers and of companies held over 50 per cent by the State in the last four years. During the debate, Jordan Tzonev MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) suggested that the committee should do a probe because Parliament does not have auditing powers. He also said pension companies should be left out of the probe because they have already been stress-tested by the EU institutions and are privately owned. On a proposal by Roumen Hristov MP of GERB-UDF, the time-frame of the probe was expanded to the last ten years. The MPs rejected a proposal by BSP for Bulgaria Floor Leader Kornelia Ninova that by the same resolution, Parliament should impose a moratorium on concessions, sales of state-owned and municipal hospitals and appointments to the state administration, regulators and companies owned over 50 per cent by the State until a new government is elected. The MRF and Democratic Bulgaria groups noted that it would be better to have a separate draft resolution on the moratorium, and Ninova said she was ready to table it next week. Maya Manolova, Floor Leader of Rise Up! Thugs Out!, was elected chair of the ad hoc committee by a vote of 147 in favour, with one abstention. Georgi Georgiev MP of There Is Such a People was elected deputy chair. Parliament voted 217-0 to approve the 16 members: three each from GERB-UDF, BSP for Bulgaria, MRF, and Democratic Bulgaria, and two each from There Is Such a People and Rise Up! Thugs Out!. RI/DD /ДЛ/