554 WORKING DAYS OF THE PARLIAMENT MEMBERS
The 39th National Assembly is gone. There is one last memory photo that the MPs are going to take on June 17, 2005, when the end of the four-year mandate will be celebrated. The MPs elected by the people managed to hold 554 sessions during that period, which means approximately 135 per year on the average.What happened during these 554 working parliament days? The most important thing - toasts were proposed. To the ratification of the agreement with NATO; to the agreement for Bulgaria's accession to the European Union; to every single state budget approved with difficulty. Toasts were proposed to the first amendment to the Constitution and then to the second; there was no time for the third one, but it will be celebrated by the next parliament instead. Champagne was also poured after each of the six votes of nonconfidence which the Cabinet of PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha survived. Celebrations followed three cosmetic changes of ministers, one change of a chairman of the National Assembly, and 240 birthdays - in the course of four consecutive years. Of course, champagne was always there when MPs were sent to join the executive power and to occupy official posts in the State and abroad. In practice, toasts never ended during all those 554 working days.What did the MPs do when they were not busy proposing toasts? They adopted 620 acts of a total number of 1,200 presented to the parliament. They also spent a pretty budget amount for business trips in the country and abroad. The total sum spent from July 2001 till March 2005 amounts to BGN5.742MN. Almost a third of it was paid for trips of MPs using their own vehicles in the country. Another sixth part compensated the travel costs for business trips abroad. In turn, Parliament members from Varna spent BGN202,000 from the state budget for aeroplane tickets to the seaside and back, the National Assembly data show. For just three months - from January to March 2005, the MPs paid over BGN20,000 for aeroplane tickets to Varna - as much as they did for the entire 2001. Apart from these transport costs, some hundred Parliament cars travelled 12.5 million kilometres in the country using fuel worth BGN2.2MN. The MPs only saved about BGN350,000. This is the amount deducted for their absences from plenary meetings and commissions without justification.I am satisfied with my work in the 39th National Assembly. This is a historical parliament since transition started in Bulgaria. This Parliament integrated Bulgaria in NATO and ratified the agreement for its accession to the European Union, the former chairman of the Parliament Ognyan Gerdzhikov said. One thing he pointed out as a failure was his inability to cope with the practice of voting with other MP's cards. His deputy Lyuben Kornezov was quick to boast that there is no other European parliament as diligent as this one.All MPs are now on holiday before the pre-election campaign which will last until June 16 - a day before the last session of the Parliament and a week before the elections scheduled for June 25. The deputies in the next Parliament will be known in the first days of July.