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News from bulgaria, 96-09-23
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From: Embassy of Bulgaria <firstname.lastname@example.org>
EMBASSY OF BULGARIA - WASHINGTON D.C.
BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY
23 September, 1996
 BULGARIAN DELEGATION DEPARTS FOR NEW YORK TO ATTEND 51ST U.N. SESSIONSofia, September 22 (BTA) - A Bulgarian delegation led by Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski departed for New York today to attend the 51st session of the UN General Assembly. Before his departure at Sofia Airport today, Minister Pirinski said that Bulgaria will continue to put the question for being compensated for the damages it sustained in enforcing the UN sanctions against former Yugoslavia.
Tomorrow, Minister Pirinski will hold meetings with Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and Macedonian Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister will attend a lunch which UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali will give for the heads of delegations, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Pantelei Karassimeonov said.
Minister Pirinski has been invited by his French counterpart Herve De Charette to attend the opening of an exposition Jacques Zuobada. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister will also take part in a reception given by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Minister Pirinski's speech before the UN session is scheduled for October 2.
 FOREIGN MINISTRY ON BULGARIAN U.N. REPRESENTATIVE CASESofia, September 20 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry made a statement on the letter Bulgaria's permanent representative to the United Nations, Slavi Pashovki, circulated today in which he protests against his non-inclusion in the Bulgarian delegation to the 51st Session of the UN General Assembly. The Government stripped Slavi Pashovski of its confidence and on November 17, 1995 proposed to the President to recall him and to appoint a new permanent representative to the UN, the statement says.
"Under the Constitution, the Government directs and implements the country's foreign policy but Mr Pashovski ignores constitutional provision and that is why he has not been included in the government delegation to the 51st Session of the UN General Assembly. It is common practice for a state official, especially a diplomat, to resign if he disagrees with the policy pursued by his Government," the Foreign Ministry points out in its statement. It is stressed that Pashovski's behaviour is yet another attempt to discredit Bulgaria with the world organization and the international community.
 PARLIAMENT RECOMMENDS TO CABINET TO MOVE NEW BILL ON BULGARIAN CITIZENSHIPSofia, September 20 (BTA) - Today the National Assembly recommended to the Government to submit to Parliament a new bill on Bulgarian citizenship complied with the Constitution and the European legislation. The MPs' decision was prompted by a question about the status of the Bulgarians born between 1913 and 1940 in Dobroudja (Northern Bulgaria) since the Constitutional Court ruling as from late July 1996 violates their right to a Bulgarian citizenship by birth.
The term "Bulgarian citizen by birth" was not included in earlier legislation. By the end of July the largest opposition formation, Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), petitioned the Constitutional Court to interpret this term. According to the Constitutional Court ruling, the right to a Bulgarian citizenship by birth is acquired at the moment of the birth and it cannot be preceded by any other citizenship. Under a requirement stipulated in the new Bulgarian Constitution, adopted in 1991, the Bulgarian President should be a Bulgarian citizen by birth. The decision of the Constitutional Court caused the elimination of the Left's presidential candidate, incumbent Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, from the presidential race. Pirinski was born in New York to a US mother and a Bulgarian father.
The Constitutional Court decision infringes the rights of more than 170,000 citizens of Dobroudja born between 1913 and 1940 (during this period the area was Romanian under the treaty of Neuilly) and they cannot run for the presidency, Gincho Pavlov, MP of the ruling Left, said today. Pavlov said the decision was political and aimed at ousting Georgi Pirinski from the presidential race. The opposition was against today's parliamentary decision.
 PARLIAMENT UPHOLDS PRESIDENTIAL VETO ON COAT-OF-ARMS ACTSofia, September 20 (Ekaterina Kazassova of BTA) - After heated debate and two votes Parliament today upheld the presidential veto on the State Coat-of-Arms and Flag Act. The Left, which have a parliamentary majority, came one vote short of passing the Act which President Zhelyu Zhelev had returned for further consideration in Parliament. 121 votes were needed to override the presidential veto; however, only 120 MPs voted in favour of the motion. The decisive votes came from two Socialists who voted against the motion and one who abstained. At the end of the plenary sitting Elisaveta Milenkova, MP of the Parliamentary Group of the Democratic Left said she was late in realizing the electronic system has not registered her vote. Two MPs of the Bulgarian Business Bloc also voted against the motion. The opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), the Popular Union (a coalition of the Democratic Party and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union) and the ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms did not take part in the voting.
The State Coat-of-Arms and Flag Act later vetoed by the President, was passed on July 25, 1996. At the time, 111 MPs of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) voted for a national emblem which did not feature a crown. Justifying his veto, the President said that the Left parliamentary majority enforced a party decision. He said the MPs should "reproduce in the national emblem the symbols of statehood which reflect the connection and continuity in the historical existence of the Bulgarian people".
Two MPs of the Democratic Left voted against the bill in spite of yesterday's decision of the parliamentary group of the BSP and its coalition partners to override the veto. The BSP-led coalition decided to postpone the entry into effect of the law till next year to have time for new consultations on the national emblem. The opposition today described this idea as a legal absurdity. The decision was taken after the opposition turned down the invitation of the Left for consultations on the national emblem. The left and right sides of Parliament failed to agree on the procedure: whether the invalidation of the law or the consultations should come first.
In today's debates at Parliament UDF floor leader Yordan Sokolov reiterated the stand that negotiations should start only after the invalidation of the law. Otherwise the consultations will be only a populist move aimed to boost the presidential candidate of the Left, Ivan Marazov, said Sokolov. "We will not go 'together for Bulgaria' with people who are against Bulgaria," he said referred to the motto of the Left's presidential campaign, Together For Bulgaria.
"The passing of this state coat of arms would confirm our inability to give the nation something which costs nothing but means a lot," said Elena Poptodorova MP of the BSP. In an emotional address in Parliament today Poptodorova said that the national emblem issue is groundlessly associated with the "republic v monarchy" one. Poptodorova called on all parliamentary factions to curb political passions and seek consensus on this issue.
Today's vote left Bulgaria without a national emblem but with the hope that consensus will be sought in its adoption. Under the Bulgarian Constitution, the coat of arms of the Republic of Bulgaria depicts a gold lion rampant on a dark gules shield. The Socialists have more or less agreed on including a crown in the emblem as a symbol of Bulgarian statehood and not of the monarchist institution. The Ecoglasnost Political Club, a coalition partner of the BSP, announced that it would launch a sign-in in support of the proposal to use the crowned line on the seal of Bulgarian revolutionary and national hero Vassil Levski (1837-1873) in the coat of arms. The UDF insists on restoring the Bulgarian coat of arms of 1923-1946. The representatives of the other opposition forces, however, are inclined to seek a compromise.
 DISAPPOINTMENT IN RULING PARTY GROWS; NO WILLINGNESS FOR SERIOUS CHANGESSofia, September 20 (BTA) - More and more Bulgarians consider the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) incapable of running this country; however, there are no grounds to say that there is serious will for a political or a social change, sociologists said commenting on the results of a recent opinion poll.
Fifty-four per cent of the respondents in a survey of the MBMD polling agency say that the BSP, which won a landslide victory at the general elections in 1994, is incapable of governing this country. Those who believe otherwise are 32 per cent; 14 per cent of the respondents do not know.
Sixteen per cent of the respondents think that Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's Cabinet should continue to run this country while nine per cent believe that the left should form a new cabinet. Nineteen per cent of the respondents are in favour of a coalition government of the major political forces while 13 per cent are for a new non-Socialist government appointed by the present Socialists-dominated Parliament. Twenty-nine per cent of the respondents said they were for early parliamentary elections. Twenty-seven per cent think the Cabinet should remain intact in the face of the grave problems to be resolved. But 57 per cent believe Bulgaria needs a new Cabinet because of these problems. These results show no indications of willingness for major political and social changes, sociologists say.
The economic crisis has also had its say on the rating of the candidates to run in this country's second direct presidential election due on October 27. A survey conducted by MBMD gave united opposition candidate Peter Stoyanov an 11% lead over left-wing candidate Ivan Marazov (who polled 44% and 35% respectively). In a possible second round Stoyanov would poll 56% and Marazov 44% of the vote, according to this survey.
Surprisingly, Bulgarian Business Bloc candidate George Ganchev doubled his rating from July to August, reaching 11%. Civil Alliance for the Republic leader Alexander Tomov and former caretaker prime minister Reneta Indjova actually stand no chances of getting elected.
But surprises are possible, MBMD experts believe. Both major candidates have not exhausted their potentials. Peter Stoyanov has still not fully received the support of all opposition forces that signed the agreement on a single presidential candidature and the potentials of the Socialist Party are broader than declared support for Marazov. Though the presidential election is by the majority system, for personalities, party voting will be decisive, sociologists commented.
 B.A.N.U. OPENS 30TH EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESSSofia, September 21 (BTA) - A total of 1,200 delegates are taking part in the 30th extraordinary congress of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU) which opened here today. The participants in the forum were elected by conferences of BANU's chapters in 22 districts across the country. Another five districts sent their delegates without holding conferences. No BANU members of Silistra (on the Danube) are taking part in the congress.
The forum takes place a month after BANU leader Anastasia Moser was removed from her post as BANU Chief Secretary. The decision for Moser's removal was taken at an extraordinary meeting of BANU Governing Board when she was abroad. BANU spokesman Georgi Pinchev was elected to replace Moser as BANU Chief Secretary. Members of BANU Governing Board told reporters at the time that the chief reason for Moser's removal was her responsibility for the recent organizational crisis in the Union.
Moser took over the united BANU in 1992 when the Agrarians had a low approval rating. At the present moment, the BANU Democratic Party coalition Popular Union is the third biggest force in Parliament. Pinchev and the people in his circle do not take part in the congress. At a news conference later today, member of BANU Standing Committee Petko Iliev, who is close to Pinchev, said that BANU's extraordinary congress takes place on an order.
In her political report to the congress today, Moser said that the major controversies which shattered BANU's unity are contained in the candidacy for Sofia mayor and the conditions for taking part in the opposition's preliminary elections to nominate single presidential and vice-presidential candidates. BANU member Todor Kavaldjiev is the vice presidential candidate of the united opposition whose presidential candidate is Peter Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). In her report, Moser called for early parliamentary elections and new democratic government.
 NATIONAL MEETING OF B.S.P. LEADERSHIP AND CAMPAIGN CENTRESofia, September 22 (BTA) - A national meeting of the leadership of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), members of its campaign centre for the October 27 presidential elections, chairmen of the BSP local councils and representatives of the municipal leadership of the Together for Bulgaria movement took place here today.
BSP leader and Prime Minister Zhan Videnov read a report at the meeting on the political, economic and social situation in Bulgaria in the run-up to the presidential election. Georgi Purvanov, BSP deputy leader and head of the campaign centre, read e report on the "Tasks in the Organization and Management of the Election Campaign".
The subsequent discussion outlined a number of issues: on the need for stronger social policy of the Cabinet and the introduction of concrete measures to guarantee the welfare of the socially- disadvantaged people; on the support for the Cabinet's efforts to overcome the difficulties of the structural reform; on the full mobilization of the social and management potential of the BSP and the Democratic Left to win the elections; on improvement of the work efficiency of the elections structures of the Together For Bulgaria coalition, the press office of the Together For Bulgaria movement said.
 PHARE INVESTMENT IN DANUBIAN CITIESSofia, September 20 (BTA) - The major environmental problems of the Danubian cities of Rousse and Silistra are expected to be solved with financing under the PHARE programme, Environment Minister Georgi Georgiev said in Parliament today, answering a question by an opposition MP.
The PHARE programme will release ECU 11 million by year's end. Two-thirds of the amount will go towards environmental projects in Romanian enterprises. Georgiev expressed a hope that investment in the Siderca metallurgical plant and the Verachim chemical works in the Romanian towns of Calarasi and Giurgiu, the major polluters of Rousse and Silistra, would reduce noxious emissions and air pollution. A Dutch firm is making a study related to this matter.
Georgiev said that since the signing of the 1992 Convention on Transboundary Cooperation in Environmental Protection between Bulgaria and Romania the commissions in the border towns had done a good job. The Bulgarian Environment Ministry immediately notifies the Romanian authorities of each registered case of air pollution in the Danubian cities. A Bulgarian-Romanian committee on environmental protection holds consultations on a regular basis. The two countries' environment ministers also meet regularly.
International organizations such as UNIDO and the EU are also involved in solving the transboundary environmental problems. They financed and conducted two studies in 1990 and 1995. On the basis of a study of industrial polluters both countries took serious measures to abate air pollution.
 BULGARIA - TEXACOSofia, September 20 (BTA) - The Chairman of the Committee of Geology and Mineral Resources, Simeon Kalaidjiev today denied reports in the "24 Chassa" daily and other papers accusing Texaco of espionage. Treading into this delicate field where state interests mingle with the private capital, does no good in the process of attracting investment, Kalaidjiev said.
In a September 13 story headlined "Texaco Spying", "24 Chassa" newspaper claimed that Texaco, which has chartered a Romanian ship for gas prospecting in the Black Sea off the coast of Varna, was accused by Bulgarian military of spying on a classified underwater installation near Cape Kaliakra. The paper quoted unnamed sources saying a submarine cable linking up the General Staffs of the Bulgarian and Russian armies passes exactly through this area.
According to Kalaidjiev, "the report's tone and headline achieve nothing but complication of the relations between the partners". He went on to say that Texaco starts a second drilling at the region of Galata near Varna in accordance with the joint working programme and after receiving all necessary permits from the authorized state bodies. Provided the atmospheric conditions are good, the drilling, which will be carried out from the Romanian Atlas drilling platform, and the geological trials are expected to be completed in the next two months.
There is not special equipment for sea drilling in Bulgaria so that foreign platforms are hired each time such probes are made. Foreign investment in oil production in Bulgaria totalled about USD 150 million over the past five years.
 INCOMES FALLSofia, September 20 (BTA) - The number of poor people in Bulgaria is rising, and opportunities for the creation of a middle class shrinking, says Bogdan Bogdanov, an expert for the National Statistical Institute (NSI).
The real income of households decreased 27% in July from the same month of 1995, Bogdanov says. According to him, real incomes will keep falling this year due to high inflation. Households spend an increasing percentage of their income on food- 38% in 1989, 46.3% in 1995 and 47.9% in July 1995.
On Monday the Government will approve income adjustments to inflation for the fourth quarter of the year and a 30 percent increase of the pensions as of October 1, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said during question-time in Parliament today answering a question on the chances for the physical survival of the people having low incomes.
The Government will try to minimize the losses of the people with lowest incomes from this year's high inflation and the considerable depreciation of the lev, Videnov said. This is a difficult task which the Cabinet will try to accomplish successfully, he added. Zhan Videnov stated that his Cabinet meets the commitments taken to this end adding that the macroeconomic indicators do not depend on the Government only.
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