THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SITTINGS TO BE OPEN TO CITIZENS
Citizens and NGO representatives will be able to access freely the Parliamentary Committees sittings. This is also thanks to the involvement of Citizen Participation Forum in two of the sittings of the temporary committee on the Rules of Organisation and Procedure of the National Assembly, on 12-13 November.
The participation of Iva Taralezhkova, Chair of the Board and Petko Tsikov from Obshtesvo.bg Foundation was thanks to their letter with a specific proposal to the Temporary committee filed by Peter Slavov, a MP from the Reformist Block. The proposal has been supported by more than 500 civil society organisations and personalities. The main objective was the Rules of Organisation and Procedure of the National Assembly to regulate the public disclosure of voting of each member of the Parliamentary committees. Citizen Participation Forum and Obshtestvo.bg suggested that the National assembly uploads online a list with each voting in the parliamentary committees.
Following a wide discussion at the sitting of the Temporary committee on November, 12th, the MPs declared their initial approval of the proposal, but its implementation is postponed due to technical difficulties and funding. In order for this to be implemented, it is necessary to install electronic voting systems and computers in the halls where the sittings take place, which is not the case at present.
Another proposal however was accepted during the sitting of the Temporary committee on November, 13th – regarding the participation of citizens and civil society organisations.
The Rules of 42th National Assembly regulated the possibility for civil society organisations to take part in each sitting of the parliamentary committees. During the initial discussions for the new Rules at the constitution of the New Assembly, however, it was debated such a possibility to be no longer available. Citizen Participation Forum advocated for this right of citizens and civil society organisations with a statement to the chairperson of the Temporary Committee, Desislava Atanasova. Following this, the new Rules stipulate that civil society organisations and citizens can take part in the parliamentary committees sittings.
Another form for dialogue with the civil society was also debated to be substituted – the Interaction with Non-Governmental Organizations and Citizens’ Complaints Committee. It was suggested to be merged with the Committee against the monopolies. Following the timely reaction by the Citizen Participation Forum, the committee working with civil society organisations was established as a separate body.