New parliament starts with deadlock
The fourth Bulgarian parliament in the last 18 months began functioning today. But MPs could not agree on anything and so, for the first time in recent history, the election of parliament's speaker failed. Voting was then repeated, but the second time also proved unsuccessful. This impasse threatens to block MPs' work, as the Constitution says that they have to elect a chairman at their first meeting.
The oldest sitting MP, Vezhdi Rashidov, a member of the GERB group and former Minister of Culture, was elected caretaker chairman.
Legislative bill for new fighter jets
Caretaker Defense Minister Dimitar Stoyanov announced that his team will submit a parliamentary bill for the acquisition of the second block of eight F-16 BLOCK 70 fighter jets and an investment plan-program to modernize the Bulgarian Army.
The plan to acquire the second 8 F-16 fighter jets envisages a deferred payment within 10 years. Thirty million leva should be paid this year, and 42 million leva next year. The fighter jets topic is a political hot potato after the US company failed to deliver the first patch of the jets by the deadline. Furthermore, no political party wants to engage in such big government spending right now.
GDP in 2021 billions higher than forecast
In 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) generated by the Bulgarian economy was not 132.7 billion leva as previously thought, but 139 billion leva. This can be seen from the data published on October 19 by the Statistical Institute following a large-scale revision..
A comparison with the previously published data from March shows that it is now assumed that the economy in 2021 grew not by 4.2%, but by as much as 7.6%. It also turns out that the drop in 2020 was slightly less than previously assumed - 4%, instead of 4.4%.
The budget deficit for 2021 should also decrease from the -4.1% reported so far to around -3.9%. The new data also changes Bulgaria's standing relative to other countries. For example, Bulgaria's growth for 2021 is no longer below the EU average, but ranks among the highest levels.