Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on December 3 to overturn President Roumen Radev’s veto on amendments to the VAT Act, passed by Parliament last month. The motion passed by 121 MPs in favour to 74 opposed and no abstentions.
The provision vetoed by Radev, a rider amending the Consumer Loans Act, would allow consumer loan firms to add contract penalties if loan recipients failed to meet their contract obligations equal to double the loan principal.
After sharp criticism of the provision from several quarters, including Ombudsman Diana Kovacheva, an amendment to strike down the provision was tabled to the 2021 Budget Act and passed last week, although not before Radev’s veto.
Bulgaria’s constitution grants the head of state a limited power of veto, through enabling the President to return legislation to the National Assembly for further discussion. The National Assembly may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.
Since taking office in January 2017, Radev made liberal use of this power. This was his 26th vetoed bill, with Parliament overturning the veto on all but three occasions – two cases when the provisions in question were withdrawn and one instance where the government coalition failed to muster the support needed to overturn the veto.