site.btaMedia Review: February 3

Media Review: February 3
Media Review: February 3
BTA Photo

THE NEW CABINET

On Thursday, President Radev dissolved the 48th National Assembly and scheduled early parliamentary elections for April 2 this year. The head of State also issued a decree appointing a caretaker government with Prime Minister Galab Donev from February 3. The only change in the composition of the new caretaker government is the Minister of Culture, Nayden Todorov, who takes over from Prof. Velislav Minekov.

The second caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Galab Donev takes office today. The prime minister and the ministers of the caretaker government appointed by President Rumen Radev will take the oath of office at a ceremony in the President’s Administration building, where the head of State will present the tasks and priorities for the caretaker cabinet.

The first sitting of the new caretaker government will take place Friday at 3:30 pm, according to 24 Chasa. The ministers will consider and adopt the cost/transfer plan for the preparation and production of the general elections on April 2, 2023. The previous parliamentary elections on October 2 cost about BGN 80 million, but now more funds will probably be needed due to inflation and recent changes in the Election Code, BNR reports.

*

Sociology experts shared their takes on the political situation on television this morning.

Co-founder of the Research Center Trend Evelina Slavkova said on Nova TV’s morning show that the caretaker governments have overstepped the functions assigned to them and are already in charge. She shared three options that, in her words, are possible as a development of the political situation in the country after the next snap elections on April 2. One is a coalition between GERB, Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria, which she finds unlikely. The second scenario is the so-called "paper coalition" [supporters of paper ballot voting] - GERB, MRF and BSP, but this is a socially unacceptable coalition, the sociologist added. The third option is new early elections in the autumn.

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Former education minister Prof. Rumyana Kolarova pointed out on bTV that many international institutions have lowered their assessments of the stability of the government in Bulgaria and this, according to her, is also due to the prolonged rule of caretaker governments rather than a regular one, elected by the National Assembly.

*

Kancho Stoychev, Director at Gallup International Association, believes that the caretaker government of Galab Donev has done better than the last regular government of Kiril Petkov. He said it is unlikely that the political forces will want local elections to be held by a caretaker cabinet. Stoychev thinks that it is possible to have a majority in the next parliament, which could even reach 200 MPs, but things cannot be divided into the "good" and the "bad" in politics, he pointed out.

ECONOMY

Energy expert and former BSP MP Yavor Kuyumdzhiev said on bgonair.bg that European energy must stand on two main pillars - nuclear energy and renewables, as the previous policy of everything being green is not working.

Electricity price rises began more than half a year before the war in Ukraine. They have reached current levels because of poor decisions of the last 20-30 years, mainly related to the closure of nuclear power plants, Kuyumdzhiev said.

According to him, Bulgaria has an advantage over other countries, as Belene NPP has come a long way - the site has been created, all but one approval procedures have been passed, and 90% of the equipment for the two units has been delivered.

He also commented on Vladislav Panev's (Democratic Bulgaria) remarks that imported electricity would be cheaper than that produced in Bulgaria:

"I am tired of addressing the statements of people who understand absolutely nothing and talk nonsense. The price of electricity in the summer reached EUR 400. If we had the Belene NPP running, we would now be the Kuwait of the Balkans," he said, adding that there was no political will to complete the project.

**

On the eve of its 11th congress, the Confederation of Labour Podkrepa once again insists on increasing incomes so that they are adequate in the difficult environment we are in, said in an interview for BTA Podkrepa's president Dimitar Manolov. The trade union advocates a change in the tax system, which currently puts the entire burden on low-income households, so the confederation wants to introduce a tax-free minimum for labour income at least up to the current minimum wage. A non-taxable minimum within the minimum wage has also long been demanded by the BSP. The trade unions are not satisfied with the decision of Parliament on February 1 on the minimum wage, said Podkrepa's economic expert Vanya Grigorova in a TV interview.

Trud daily writes that Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) president Plamen Dimitrov told a news briefing that the readiness for protest actions is rising sharply. 

Dimitrov clarified that employees in Sofia's public transport, post offices, and water and sewerage sector want a wage increase. Other sectors have declared readiness for protests and secondary education is among them, Dimitrov added. "There is no prospect to implement a salary increase for teachers and non-teaching staff," he said, as quoted by Nova TV. He said the different branches are coordinating joint actions, stressing that people are not interested in elections, but in how their salaries will be increased.

**

Duma summarizes the findings of several media outlets regarding food prices in Bulgaria.

Some groups of food products in Bulgaria are significantly more expensive in absolute terms even than on the markets of far richer countries such as Germany, France, Sweden and Estonia. These foods include butter, oil, cheese, milk and eggs. Bread and meat are at relatively acceptable levels, while fruit and vegetables are neither very cheap nor very expensive. 

The biggest increase in food prices comes from the mark-up of traders. In some cases it reaches an outrageous 100%, according to Mediapool. The most shocking statistics is that oil and butter in Bulgaria are significantly more expensive in terms of final price even compared to the most expensive and richest country in the EU - Luxembourg.

This is happening not only in the poorest country in the Union, but also in the one that was the third largest sunflower oil exporter in the EU, and number two in sunflower exports worldwide in 2021. 

The problem in Bulgaria is that the large and regional retail chains are left without any regulation in their activities. The chains operate at an abnormal profit. For example, the average price at which cheese comes out of a company is BGN 16 to 18 per kilo, while there is no cheese on the market below BGN 30, said Vladislav Mihailov, chairman of the national association of dairy processors. According to BNT, many Bulgarians travel on weekends to shop from Serbia, where prices of most foods are much lower.

MISCELLANEOUS

Nearly one-fifth of Bulgarians have ridden with a driver who has consumed alcohol, shows a survey of the Research Center Trend commissioned by the 24 Chasa newspaper. The survey also found that 37% of respondents have witnessed their relatives or acquaintances sitting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking drugs. According to respondents, the top three factors for crashes on the road are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving after using drugs. The majority of Bulgarians (86%) believe that legislative changes are needed to increase the penalties for drink and drug driving.

**

An initiative committee of activists of the Father's Hearth and IMRO Bulgarian national movements is collecting signatures for a national referendum. In addition to questions about the euro changeover and the preservation of coal-fired power plants, there will be another one - about family values, asking if LGBTI+ propaganda should be banned by law in kindergartens, schools, cultural institutions, and any state policy of the Republic of Bulgaria. Ivaylo Shopski from "Father's Hearth" and Krasimir Chervilov from IMRO said that signatures will be collected until the end of March, but the initiative committee will be very active in the next month.

**

bTV reports that a thousand-year-old plane tree in the Asparuhovo district of Varna is the big winner in the "Tree with a Root" competition of the Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation (Fondaciya EkoObshtnost) and will have a shot at the title "European Tree of the Year". The plane tree is 18 meters tall and its trunk circumference is over 9. The tree has been there since the time of the First Bulgarian State (681 - 1018 AD). This type of plane tree reaches an age of 2,000 years, so the tree in Asparuhovo is in the middle of its life.

/MT/

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By 23:00 on 02.03.2024 Today`s news

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