Peevski: We will propose BGN 0 subsidy and US funding model

Delyan Peevski

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) plans to propose a BGN 0 subsidy for parties and introduction of the US funding model, MRF lawmaker and Telegraph Media publisher Delyan Peevski told reporters in the halls of the National Assembly. The decision is prompted by the proposal of GERB and the government to review the budget with a view to drastically cutting down the subsidy for political parties from BGN 11 to BGN 1, with the potential change to enter into force on 1 July.

Peevski explained that the MRF is not going to back GERB’s proposal for a BGN 1 state subsidy allocated for every vote that a political organisation has earned in elections and will instead propose a no subsidy at all.

“What GERB is proposing is extremely populist. It would be nice to get an idea of what parties are supposed to do afterwards,” he said, explaining that the change would effectively cause parties to go under.

“If you are going to change the funding model, it is only logical that you scrap subsidies altogether and move to open funding from clear and non-anonymous donors instead, as it is in the US,” Peevski explained.

Asked whether that creates a risk of parties becoming dependent on businessmen, Peevski said: “Understand this – BGN 1 (subsidy) means bankruptcy for parties. Whoever wants this, can try it. If we do not shift to a different funding model, we will essentially lose parties and everything will belong to the oligarchs.” He is confident that the lack of subsidy would not lead to bankruptcy of parties, provided that the funding model is switched to the US practice.

For his part, the vice-chairman of the MRF’s parliamentary group Yordan Tsonev said that no matter if the subsidy is BGN 1 or BGN 5, there are always going to be parties that cannot survive financially. “In both cases the dependencies are the same. That applies to a no-subsidy scenario too,” he explained. In his opinion, if the decision is made to veer off the European model and not to have public funding, the best option is the US model. He further elucidated that in that situation there would be no public funding and instead parties would rely on enterprises and citizens for funds, which would be donated transparently.

“If society does not realise that the public funding is cheaper and more transparent, we will propose BGN 0 (state aid) and open financing from enterprises and citizens, with the necessary monitoring from civil society and the Audit Office,” he added.

The MRF held meetings with pharmaceutical companies on 12 June to discuss the party’s idea of reducing VAT rates for drugs, bread and other goods. “We will not put forward a proposal unless we have guarantees that prices will go down,” he said. Meetings with producers of bread, flour, etc. are set for Thursday, 13 June.

“We will have consultations regarding the VAT idea. If the move is primed to result in lower prices for consumers, we want it, otherwise – what are we doing this for? There is no sense in doing it to benefit producers only,” Peevski explained, adding that he is glad that the ruling coalition is paying attention to the MRF’s advice on free kindergartens, building new ones and doing something about VAT on books.

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