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While authorities argue move should reduce dependence on foreign funding for religions, the opposition sees it as ruling party’s attempt to endear itself with religious groups.13 March 2019
The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the country’s main opposition party, has criticized a bill passed last week as a thinly veiled attempt to buy off a prominent religious group in exchange for political favors, Balkan Insight reports
The deal is, ‘We back you to overturn the presidential veto and BSP’s criticism, and you cancel the debts,’” Balkan Insight quotes BSP party’s leader, Kornelia Ninova, as saying. Her suggestion was that the MRF, nominally in opposition, would vote with GERB because of the
The bill’s backers say it will help reduce the possibility of foreign funding of religious groups, a potential security risk.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met on Monday with Chief Mufti Mustafa Hadzhi, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslim minority, and Patriarch Neofit, head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to discuss the legislation, the Sofia Globe reported. At the meeting, he said that the government’s goal was “to start off with a clean sheet, so that the state pays its religious groups from now on,” Balkan Insight writes.
According to Tsvetan Tsvetanov, parliamentary leader of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, the debt amounts to about 8.2 million leva (4.19 million euros, or $4.74 million) of unpaid social insurance and other taxes, the Sofia Globe reported last week.
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