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Bulgaria's parl overturns presidential veto on F-16 purchase

Author Mario Tanev
Bulgaria's parl overturns presidential veto on F-16 purchase Bulgaria's Parliament / All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 26 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's parliament said on Friday that it has overturned a presidential veto on the ratification of the $1.256 billion (1.117 billion euro) deal with the U.S. for the purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets.

The veto was overturned in a 128-73 vote with three abstentions in the 240-seat parliament, the National Assembly said in a statement.

Bulgaria's president Rumen Radev vetoed the deal earlier this week, saying that the heated debate on the ratification has shown that the necessary public consensus on the parameters of the deal has not been reached.

Radev noted that the ratification procedure was in breach of Bulgarian legislation as the parliament endorsed the decision for the purchase in first and second reading in a single day. According to the constitution, a deal of national importance like this one has to be ratified following two readings held in two separate parliament sittings, Radev said.

Radev now has the right to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on the issue.

Last week, the parliament ratified the F-16 Block 70 fighter jets acquisition agreement in a 123-78 vote and approved the revision of the 2019 budget deficit to 2.1% of the projected gross domestic product in order to finance the purchase.

The deal envisages the delivery of six single-seat F-16 jets and two two-seat aircrafts used for training, as well as supply of munitions for the jets, Sidewinder AIM 9Х Block II missiles, and a multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS), the defence ministry said earlier this month after the government gave the green light to the deal.

($ = 0.89515 euro)