Bloomberg News

Bulgarian Cabinet Faces No-Confidence Vote Over Atomic Plant

April 06, 2012

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s minority government will face its fourth no- confidence vote in parliament next week after canceling a project to build a nuclear plant with Russia’s Rosatom Corp.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party and the nationalist Attack Party introduced the motion to the legislature today, Sergei Stanishev, ex-premier and leader of the opposition Socialists, told reporters in Sofia.

The European Union’s poorest country in terms of output per capita gets most of its oil and natural gas from Russia and wants to diversify its energy sources. It canceled on March 28 a project to build a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Sofia, with Russia’s state nuclear company after failing since 2005 to agree on its cost and find Western investors.

“The government stopped Bulgaria’s biggest industrial project in two decades,” Stanishev said. “This decision is fatal for Bulgaria. It puts at risk the existence of Bulgria’s nuclear energy industry and will lead to much higher electricity prices.”

The Fukushima accident after a March 2011 earthquake in Japan raised costs for improved safety measures and risk insurance on the Bulgarian project by an extra $2.1 billion, according to a report by the Balkans and Black Sea Studies Center in Sofia, which also was in favor of canceling the project.

Confidence Votes

Borissov survived three no-confidence votes since he took office in July 2009. The last one was held in July 2011 after the country failed to win EU approval to join the passport-free Schengen zone.

Passage of the no-confidence motion requires a simple majority in the 240-member parliament. The government has 117 seats and may gain the support of independent lawmakers and smaller groups that have backed it previously, including the Blue Coalition, which groups several parties with a total of 14 lawmakers.

The Socialists and Attack control 50 seats in the assembly.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova in Sofia at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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