COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF COMPETITION REMOVED FROM THE AGENDA
For a few months now the MPs cannot agree on the choice of a new management of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC). But according to the deputy from the NMSII Emil Koshloukov, this is not a problem. He compared the pending question about the nomination of new members of the anti-monopoly body, whose mandate elapsed, with the casus, which the central bank's management faced. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Economic Commission Valeri Dimitrov said in front of the BANKER weekly that the appointment of new members of the CPC was revomed from the agenda due to more urgent tasks. Two times the Parliamentary Economic Commission postponed the listening to the candidates for the position of a CPC chairperson with the argument that they were not ready. In this case, however, the MPs have an excuse for not hurrying with the choice (unlike the case regarding the BNB). The Protection of Competition Act was amended in January 2003. Then in para 43 of the law's Transitional and Final Provisions it was written that CPC's Chairman and members would perform their duties until their replacement. For comparison, there are no such stipulations in the BNB Act. The debatable question regarding the CPC is different. It is when the 5-year mandates elapses - on December 12, 2002 or on May 13, 2003. CPC's Chairman Nikolai Pavlov and CPC's members were appointed by Parliament in December 1997, but the new Protection of Competition Act (passed in the spring of 1998) stipulated that they should continue to perform their duties until the end of their 5-year mandate. Thus, no new management of the CPC had to be appointed then.Although CPC's mandate has already elapsed, it is still making decisions. It should pass-judgement on several more important cases in the next few months, most of them regarding privatisation deals. For example, the anti-monopoly body should express its stance on the purchase of DSK Bank by Hungary's OTP. And last month it approved the strategy for the privatisation of electricity distribution companies. On the background of the fierce criticism against the big divestment deals, such as BTC's sale, its is not all the same to the ruling majority who would succeed Nikolai Pavlov as head of the CPC.That is why it was not surprising that as early as in March the NMSII nominated Petko Nikolov (incumbent Chairman of PA's Supervisory Board) to replace Mr. Pavlov as head of the CPC. It is not difficult to explain as well why The New Time discussion club tried to push its own candidate Dimitar Kyumyurdjiev (incumbent CPC member, formerly a lawyer and a prosecutor of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office). No new nominees for the post of a CPC chairperson have become known so far, but it is almost certain that four of the incumbent members of the anti-monopoly body would retain their positions). They are Dimitar Kyumyurdjiev, Elena Stoimenova, Redjeb Moustafa, and Roumyana Karlova. The BSP and the UDF-coalition are entitled to nominate two more members of the CPC. However, they are waiting for the result of the political consultations about CPC's new head. It is a different matter that even the MPs from the majority are presently entirely in the dark as to who would be preferred by the leadership of NMSII's parliamentary group.