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Bulgarian Rulers: Referendum to Prove N-Plant's Futility
Date: 19/10/2012

The upcoming referendum on the fate of Bulgaria's Belene nuclear power plant will prove that the project is pointless, according to Interior Minister Tsvetan Tstevatov.

On Friday, Tsvetanov reiterated that the former socialist-led three-way coalition would have fulfilled the project if it was favorable for Bulgaria.

"They had the executive power, they had the legislative power, they had the presidential power...but they knew what the dangers were," he told reporters, referring to the former government of Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev (2005-2009).

Tsvetanov's centrist-right GERB government scrapped the Belene NPP project in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible. Stanishev's pro-Belene Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) reacted by launching a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project's fate.

GERB recently edited the question for the upcoming referendum, dropping the word "Belene" from the version initially proposed by BSP.

The MPs from the Legal Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament voted on Thursday the edited version of the question of the referendum on the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube town of Belene.

Only Members of the Parliament from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, had the final say on the question after three hours of heated debates.

Those from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, left in sign of protest before the vote.

The GERB government scrapped the Belene NPP project in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible. The pro-Belene BSP then launched a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project's fate.

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

The question of the petition was: "Should nuclear energy be developed in Bulgaria through the building of a Nuclear Plant at the Belene site?"

The edited question, which was the proposal of the GERB Chair of the Legal Committee, Iskra Fidosova, postulates: "Should nuclear energy be developed in Bulgaria through the building of a new Nuclear Plant?"

GERB MPs, backed by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, insist the word Belene makes the referendum anti-constitutional and dooms it to failure.

The Legal Committee further passed the proposal to hold a referendum with the edited question.

The opposition is outraged by the revision, claiming it changes the very essence of the question and undermines thousands of Bulgarians, who have signed the petition.

The question now has to be voted in plenary hall, where it can be revised once again.

Topic: Economy

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