Bulgaria's parliament approved on first reading the budget bill for 2013 after nearly six hours of debate.
The bill was backed by the MPs of the ruling party GERB and independent MPs, as Coalition for Bulgaria, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Blue Coalition and Ataka voted against, state-run Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported.
Next year's budget will focus on sustaining the fiscal consolidation policy, prioritizing expenses for sectors which drive economic growth as well as reducing poverty and protecting the most disadvantaged population, BTA cited finance minister Simeon Dyankov as saying.
The budget deficit is set at 1.1 billion levs ($716 million/562 million euro), which is equivalent to 1.3% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP), almost unchanged from the 1.35% gap planned for 2012.
Revenue is budgeted at 30.59 billion levs, or 37.5% of the projected GDP, while expenditures are estimated at 31.69 billion levs, or 38.9% of the GDP.
The budget debt ceiling is set at 14.6 billion levs, or 17.8% of GDP.