Parliament Passes Post-Emergency Measures Legislationon First Reading
May 8 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Parliament Friday voted, 125-0 with 69 abstentions, to pass on first reading a Government-proposed bill amending the Health Act which empowered the Health Minister to introduce epidemic-control measures after the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency on May 13. Such measures may be proposed by the Chief State Health Inspector and the directors of the regional health inspectorates.
GERB, the United Patriots, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Volya and independent MPs supported the draft legislation, and BSP for Bulgaria abstained.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, Labour and Social Policy Minister Denitsa Sacheva, Health Minister Kiril Ananiev and Justice Minister Danail Kirilov attended the plenary sitting.
The amendments enable the Minister of Health to issue an order establishing the terms and procedure for the compulsory isolation and hospital treatment of persons suffering from infectious diseases, their contacts or persons who arrive in Bulgaria from abroad.
The revisions also specify the timeframe of the socio-economic, financial and health measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extending some of them by up to two months after the expiry of the state of emergency.
Motions for modifications of the provisions may be entered by 6 p.m. on May 10, the legislature resolved. The Legal Affairs Committee will debate the bill on second reading on Monday, and it will be put to a conclusive plenary vote on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The National Assembly will hold a regular plenary sitting on May 14, Parliament's Chair Tsveta Karayancheva said.
During Friday's debate, BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said that her parliamentary group will propose the setting up of an ad hoc parliamentary committee to inquire into the way the public financial resources on the coronavirus response are being spent and will move that the opposition should chair that committee. NV/LG