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Bulgarian Right Wing Challenges Belene NPP Referendum
Date: 05/10/2012

The right-wing Blue Coalition has requested from Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, to ask the Constitutional Court to elaborate on the upcoming referendum on the fate of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project.

The Blues insist the Court must have a say in explaining the law before the Parliament passes the decision, the Bulgarian online news agency Dnevnik reports.

According to the law, the Constitutional Court must act on the request of at least one fifth on the Members of the Parliament, (48), or the President, the Cabinet, the Supreme Courts of Cassations, the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Chief Prosecutor.

The Blue Coalition has 14 MPs.

The right wing insists the most important issue is does the Parliament have the authority to schedule a national referendum on a matter they see inadmissible under the Direct Participation of Citizens in State and Local Power Act.

This Act postulates that referendums cannot be held on issues within the authority of the Parliament, on the amount of taxes, social security, the State budget, and the work of the Parliament, among others.

Bulgaria's centrist-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, government scrapped the Belene NPP project in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible. The pro-Belene Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, then launched a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project's fate.

The inspection of the petition recently concluded, with 543 639 valid signatures, enough to make the vote irreversible.

The referendum is expected to take place within the next three months.

Discussions have been renewed recently on the abandoned Belene NPP project, with Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport upping its claim against Bulgaria's National Electricity Co. to EUR 1 B and a mysterious investment fund emerging with an offer to take over the project.

The Blue Coalition now say they will launch in the upcoming days a round table with NGOs involved in the energy sector to debate the legality on conducting such referendum.

Topic: Economy

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