Press Today - July 18, 2011
CEZ Conducts 1,000 Checks Monthly for Electricity Thefts
"It is not by chance that the motion of no confidence over security brings together the BSP [Bulgarian Socialist Party] and the Blue Coalition: the Interior Ministry operations have busted networks of dependences in both the Blue and the Red sector, presenting them as a mafia, an octopus, organized crime," writes "Troud" in a comment. "Bulgaria's economic transition is not the most crystal clear thing, and the people of Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov can thus carry out a lot more operations. This is precisely what both Blue and Red do not want. The old elites versus the new elite: the struggle is mercilessly cruel."
"Novinar" headlines its interview with former interior minister Mihail Mikov "Interior Ministry Rides Roughshod, Tramples on Presumption of Innocence." Here is Mikov's comment on the upcoming no-confidence motion: "A number of facts have built up over the last two years, related both to the lack of a reform in the eystem and to the effectiveness of work at the Interior Ministry. Nothing can disprove the existence of police brutality, the disproportionate use of force, the wrongful arrests, the huge number of wiretapped individuals. What about the Cabinet's attitude to the judiciary and the daily denigration of magistrates? This brazen and cynical conduct of the power-holders has reached a critical point. We, the opposition, are not the only ones who say this. These are also the findings of the international institutions about Bulgaria."
"The rows in the judicial system will continue to multiply," National Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev predicts in a "Pari" interview. He notes that this is an unreformed system which badly needs reform. "This, however, has not happened so far because no sufficient will has been amassed. That is why it breeds scandals which will not end but will multiply. This is an inevitable effect of the lack of clear rules. For twenty years, recruitment has been unprincipled with all compositions of the Supreme Judicial Council. There are unsuitable appointments at all levels," Penchev points out.
Interviewed for "Troud", BSP presidential candidate Ivailo Kalfin says he is not afraid of discrediting disclosures. "Discrediting disclosures are a hallmark of certain people, especially of the GERB incumbents. They keep mounting provocations a large part of which prove to be red herrings. They use the machinery of the State for pressure and denigration. I have nothing to worry about. I am sure that Bulgarian citizens will punish such behaviour," Kalfin says. In his campaign, he will count on the full mobilization of the BSP, on the support of other parties and non-governmental organizations, as well as on the Bulgarian citizens. "What the State and the citizens of the State need is to lay the foundation for a solid and long-term national consensus on essential matters related to economic development, to social policy - both pension and health policy, and the information system," Kalfin says in an interview for "Douma". "This long-term consensus must be above the political parties. They must share in it, but upon change of government these statesmanlike actions must continue consistently."
"Standart News" comments that, according to several intra-party surveys, two-thirds of the BSP chapters wanted an "authentic Left-wing candidate" who has proven his loyalty to the BSP over the last 20 years. "This is the first test facing Ivailo Kalfin. To persuade the Socialists that he is a genuine Leftist and not a turncoat 'traitor' who has been surviving so far at the expense of the party faithful. He will have to abandon his suave, humaneless Brussels idiom and start talking like a 'man of the people', to explain his party background, before outlining his national vision for Bulgaria. Kalfin must also launch an aggressive campaign on two fronts. Against Melgena Kuneva, so as to prevent her from hijacking the Left- or centrist-minded voters who are not pleased with him. Because he and she are two faces of one and the same polished eurocoin. And against GERB, so as to spearhead the 'protest vote.' The difficulty stems from the fact that while GERB's candidate is certain to reach a second round of voting, Kalfin is not. The same applies to Kuneva. Thus, the BSP has to achieve the first but crucial objective: eliminating the first Bulgarian EU commissioner as a rival even while the campaign is in progress. The keenest spectators of this spectacle will be GERB and the MRF [Movement for Rights and Freedoms]".
Yanaki Stoilov, runner-up in the race for the Socialists' presidential nomination, is convinced that he would have won if the intra-party elections were held in the entire BSP. Interviewed for "Troud", Stoilov discloses that an odd coalition took shape in the BSP National Council among three circles: the party leadership, the opponents of leader Sergei Stanishev, and President Georgi Purvanov. "The first ones made this choice because they see it as winning for the campaign, and the second ones did so to capitalize on a possible failure for a replacement of the chairman. To me, corporate interests and partisan hypocrisy are the worst cankers which have been corrupting the BSP and all Bulgarian politics for years," Stoilov says.
"Ataka" reports that Volen Siderov and Pavel Shopov will contest the presidential elections for the Ataka Party, as decided by the Ataka National Convention. "This team proved itself at the previous elections in 2006 by getting to the second round of voting, and now it can perform even better," the nationalists stated. "Ataka enters the forthcoming elections with a clear vision: a change of the colonial model of governance of Bulgaria," Siderov said.
In an analysis contributed to "24 Chassa", Mira Radeva of MBMD noted that, according to surveys, the candidate's person is what matters most to voters. Contrary to the conviction of the party headquarters that people are incessantly preoccupied with politicians, people feel uninformed, including about publicly popular figures. The curious thing about the presidential elections this coming autumn will be whether the new head of State will behave subserviently with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov considering the predictions that the GERB candidate will win. And whether president and prime minister can reach consensus if the candidate of another political force gets elected."
None of the parliamentary parties intend to back GERB about a reduction of the state subsidy for the parties, "Sega" found in a poll. A fortnight ago Finance Minister Simeon Djankov promised that the subsidy for parties be no longer pegged to the minimum wage. Now parties get 5 per cent of the minimum wage, or 12 leva, for each vote. GERB alone is paid 20 million leva annually, and the aggregate amount approximates 50 million leva. All parties which have garnered over 1 per cent at the last parliamentary elections are entitled to state subsidy.
"The MPs continue to behave as a special estate overgrown with privileges to which it is entitled by virtue of rank, law, and in the name of the people," "Sega" comments. "Despite the huge public row in recent weeks, they refuse to admit that there is something wrong in the way in which they dispose of budget resources. And they are not at all perturbed by the lack of any link between the work they do and the salaries, privileges and perks which taxpayers provide them against their will." "According to the 2010 report of the National Assembly, the MPs cost Bulgarians a total of 37.1 million leva. Of these, 9,126,200 leva were paid in salaries and social insurance contributions alone. By comparison, nearly half of that amount, 5.2 million leva, were spent on the same items in 2005. This is due not only to inflation but also to a growing appetite."
"Teachers will be teaching children to think in class rather than repeat things they have learnt by rote," "Troud" writes on its front page. To this end, more than 40,000 teachers will be trained in the new teaching methods, starting September 15. Another purpose of the massive-scale qualification effort is to take Bulgaria out of the disgraceful statistics of international literacy surveys.
In late May, National Revenue Agency (NRA) Executive Director Krassimir Stefanov drew up a classified report to Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov on a delay in the collection of revenues, "24 Chassa" writes, alleging that it possesses the document. In it, the NRA chief warns that the revenues collected by his Agency alone are likely to fall short of the target by as much as 622.2 million leva. According to insiders, the detailed analysis of the alarming delay was one of the reasons for which Stefanov incurred public censure and which also led to a shake-up at the Revenue Agency, as well as to a series of actions of the National Customs Agency.
The increase of the social insurance contributions pushes entire sectors into the grey economy, according to the latest figures of the National Social Security Institute, "Sega" emphasizes. "It is not the crisis but the substantial increase of the minimum contributory income that leads to a reduction of the self-insured by some 60,000 and of agricultural producers by some 15,000. After the Government decided in 2010 that practitioners of liberal professions should pay contributions on at least 420 leva monthly instead of 260 leva, the number of self-insured suddenly slumped by nearly 40,000. While they numbered some 230,000 in 2009, after the increase of the social insurance burden, they fell below 190,000. This year, too, there is proof that, contrary to what the power-holders hope, each increase of the social insurance burden leads to a greying of the economy rather than to a substantial increase of revenue."
"CEZ Conducts 1,000 Checks Monthly for Electricity Thefts," "Troud" reports. Residents of Western Bulgaria stole electricity worth nearly 3.5 million leva in the first half of 2011, CEZ Bulgaria said. The company estimates the unpaid power consumption for the period at 20 million kWh. Memorandums of ascertainment have been drawn up and about half of the quanity, 10.4 million kWh, has been billed. The reason is that CEZ has the right to bill unmetered consumption only for three moths back, even though abuses may have lasted for years.