CORRUPTION COMMITTEE STARTS WORK WITH SCANDALS
A series of scandals accompanied the establishment of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee. After several-week debates inside the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) coalition and the disputes between rulers and opposition, the Parliament finally voted the members of the committee on October 3. Oborishte Movement and the Party of Bulgarian Women needed eight votes more in order to enforce their proposal for building the structure with parity. Moreover, it turned out that the cards of eleven MPs who were not present in the hall were used in the vote, announced Nadezhda Mihailova, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). The tricks applied by the UDF coalition for another voting and personal review were disapproved by both the Parliament's Chairman Ognyan Gerdzhikov and the majority.The ruling coalition has the biggest number of representatives in the newly-established permanent committee - 12 from the NMSII and 2 from the Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF). The fact that the leaders of the yellow group are not so enthusiastic about the new structure became obvious yet last week, when absolutely unknown names were appointed members of the committee. The candidature of Kosta Kostov for the chairman's post, proposed by Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was approved. Dimitar Abadzhiev from the UDF coalition, Radoslav Ilievski from the Coalition for Bulgaria, and Ramadan Atalay from the MRF, will be his deputies.The establishment of the anti-corruption committee provoked scandals within the yellow parliamentary group. The leaders of the NMSII insisted that this should be a structure subordinate to the internal security committee. Thanks to the votes of the opposition, Oborishte Movement and the Party of Bulgarian Women managed to enforce their proposal.Eventually, the NMSII lost a battle, but won the war. According to MPs from the NMSII coalition partners, the proportion principle of forming the structure makes its existence useless, because it questions the possibilities for investigating representatives of the majority if there are signals against them. MPs close to the leaders opposed that if the committee was formed by parity, MPs from the previous majority could not have been investigated. UDF members decided to demonstrate they were not afraid of the new structure and ceded a place of their quote to those who proposed the idea for the committee - the coalition partners of NMSII, and later to an independent member of the Parliament. Eventually, this place remained vacant.The coalition partners of the NMSII and the UDF opposition failed to enforce another of their ideas too. They did not want the committee to include people who voted against its establishment. The members were approved en block. Later, some of the members were even accused of corruption.Dimitar Ignatov from the UDF coalition revealed that the newly-elected member coming from the NMSII and Chairman of the Healthcare Committee, Atanas Shterev, forced the directors of two hospitals - Pirogov and Alexandrovska, to buy waste bags from a company in which he was a secret partner. The National Union of Doctors without Borders sent this information to the Prime Minister, the Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry Boiko Borissov, and the UDF coalition.