Parliamentary Majority Defeats Socialists' Motion to Hear PM on CEZ Sale Scandal

Parliamentary Majority Defeats Socialists' Motion to Hear PM on CEZ Sale Scandal

Sofia, February 28 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Parliament Wednesday voted, 82-98 with 10 abstentions, to defeat a motion by the opposition BSP for Bulgaria for a hearing of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on the CEZ case.

The sale of the Bulgarian business of the Czech energy group CEZ to an obscure Bulgarian company has given rise to a heated controversy. CEZ Distribution Bulgaria (the country's largest power distributor) supplies electricity to nearly 3 million customers in Western Bulgaria, including the capital Sofia.

Socialist MP Dragomir Stoinev insisted that Borissov should answer whether the Bulgarian State has assumed any commitments in the deal with CEZ and how Bulgarian citizens' interests are protected. "Who is shaking the Government, who are the nasties that the PM will give no respite?" Stoinev demanded, referring to Borissov's statement on Tuesday that he suspects that an attempt was being made to use the deal to bring down his Government.

Danail Kirilov MP of GERB countered that on Tuesday the PM submitted to Parliament information about the CEZ case that he had received from Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. "Two competent parliamentary committees will meet on Thursday, and there the MPs will be able to pose their questions to officials of the competent authorities," Kirilov added. "As far as shaking the Government is concerned, look around yourselves, ask yourselves and your parliamentary group, and the answers will be clear," he commented, addressing BSP for Bulgaria.

In a televised interview, Deputy Prime Minister Krassimir Karakachanov of the power-sharing United Patriots coalition urged for quick amendments to the Energy Act to enable the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission to check transactions entailing a change of ownership of electricity distribution companies.

United Patriots Floor Leader Volen Siderov Tuesday suggested an etatization of a 34 per cent interest in the power distributors that would give the State blocking minority rights.

Energy Committee Chairman Delyan Dobrev MP of GERB disagrees with this idea. He said on National Television Wednesday morning that this will require a change of the companies' articles of association, which is hardly likely, and that the contemplated amendments to the Energy Act are not to this effect.

Source: Sofia