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Bulgarian President Radev vetoes amendments on unlicensed transportation of passengers

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Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on November 5 that he had vetoed amendments to the Penal Code and Car Transportation Act, approved by Parliament last week, which made it a criminal offence to transport passengers without all the legally required permits.

In his veto motives, Radev noted that this was already punishable as an administrative offence and that the bill did not make a clear distinction between criminal cases and administrative ones. Additionally, Parliament did not provide a clear definition of ride-sharing, which was meant to be excluded from the scope of the amendments, Radev said.

The President raised concerns that the confiscation of the vehicle provision in the amendments may run counter to the constitutionally-guaranteed right to property.

Radev also criticised that the amendments were tabled as a rider on the Maritime Shipping Code between first and second reading, saying that this prevented public discussion of the proposed provisions.

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his 25th vetoed bill, with Parliament overturning the veto in all but two cases, when the provisions in question were withdrawn.

On several occasions, Radev has followed through with a Constitutional Court challenge, where he has been more successful in blocking legislation.

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