GERB collected 127 signatures for new Constitution and Grand National Assembly
A referendum on some controversial points is foreseen to be held along with the upcoming electionsMonitor News Agency
GERB has collected exactly 127 signatures needed for submission of draft decision for convening a Grand National Assembly and draft new Constitution. We have the necessary votes, commented the head of GERB Parliamentary group, Daniela Daritkova, at an extraordinary parliamentary briefing, specifying that the arrangement with the United Patriots from IMRO was reached after a long run dialogue.
According to her, the procedure can be launched. The additional signatures, apart from those of GERB and United Patriots, came from MPs of Volya Movement, as well as independent MPs. Veselin Mareshki's party gave 10 signatures, and the independent MPs were two.
Daritkova made it clear that they rearranged some of the items and articles - they put down a preamble, moved the basic rights at the beginning, put down the text for the coat of arms, and removed the possibility of the judiciary for legislative initiative. The initial draft provided for the Supreme Judicial Council to be divided into two judicial councils – of prosecutors and judges, as each one had to be entitled to make legislative proposals. In her words, this point has caused serious controversy. Daritkova explained that after 30 years of the current Constitution being in force, it was time to be amended according to the attitudes of the citizens.
Iskren Vesselinov from IMRO said that he was satisfied with the finishing line of this debate. According to him, the draft was general, but it had nothing to do with the initial one. Thus, it was already replying to the objections. "We exalt the national significance in the preamble and declaration that our state is united," he added. The preamble reads something more - that our state must preserve the national values and traditions. For the first time, they also have set the promotion of the birth rate as a concern of the state, but especially of the socialised and literate birth rate. Another topic was about the rights of Bulgarians abroad.
"We grant the right to every Bulgarian by origin to return and live here - to work, study, to have a simpler way for obtaining citizenship by origin. For the first time we record that voting is a civic duty, you know about our fight against vote buying," Vesselinov explained. The current text that marriage is only between a man and a woman remained in the Constitution.
Three topics remain out of the arrangement - education levels, increase of presidential powers and compulsory military service. According to him, these three topics will be subject to a referendum, which will be held together with the elections for Grand National Assembly. The IMRO expects more than two-thirds of the citizens to support these three proposals. "We are embarking on a path for Grand National Assembly together with GERB," Vesselinov concluded. For this purpose, IMRO and GERB have signed an agreement that the ruling party will support the holding of a referendum.
Daritkova did not explain how they would collect the necessary 160 votes for the very decision on a Grant National Assembly. She made it clear that they will rely on the MRF and the BSP to change their opinion and vote for convening of Grant National Assembly. According to her, they have the confidence of their voters. In her words, the ruling party has over 1.2 million voters who voted in their favour during the last elections. Moreover, the votes, together with their coalition partners, reached 1.5 million.
Earlier in the day, the IMRO announced that they were negotiating with GERB for a referendum on three points that were not included in the draft - introduction of educational levels for voting, increasing the presidential powers and compulsory military service. However, an arrangement has been reached on six other points - for the preamble, for the coat of arms, for promoting the birth rate, for the rights of Bulgarian communities abroad, for introducing minimum standards for proficiency in Bulgarian language, as well as for voting to be defined as a civic duty.
The NFSB signed the draft Constitution at noon, without imposing such excessive conditions to GERB. Their proposals have also been included in the draft, but they will be announced later.
Meanwhile, GERB submitted the draft for a new Constitution and for convening of Grand National Assembly in the Registry of the National Assembly. It became clear from the sent frames that the President of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva and the Chair of Parliament's Budget committee Menda Stoyanova have lodged in the draft.