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The Eight Session of the 41st National Assembly has started. The first plenary sitting of the year began with statements on behalf of parliamentary groups

The parliament has terminated the powers of Svilen Kraychev, member of the parliament from PP GERB, who was elected Deputy Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Cooperation (PABSC). It also made changes to some of the permanent delegations of the National Assembly. MP Lutvi Mestan (DPS) was elected alternate member of the National Assembly in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSSE). MP Dimitar Atanasov(PP GERB) was elected to head the parliament’s Delegation to PABSC. Deputies approved Milena Hristova (Coalition for Bulgaria PG) to replace Kornelia Ninova from the same parliamentary group as alternate member to NA permanent delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The parliament has decided to add to the Faculty of Public Health of the University of Ruse ”Angel Kanchev” another School for education of health manpower – midwifes and nurses for the needs of the region. Thus the name of the Faculty will be “Public Health and Healthcare”. The students will graduate with a Bachelor degree.

Another item on the agenda of the first day of the parliament’s 8th session was the adoption of a Declaration against the forceful assimilation of Bulgarian Muslims (known also as “Revival Process”) during the Communist regime. The declaration was proposed by the parliamentary group of the Blue Coalition’s co-chair Ivan Kostov and was adopted with the votes of 122 deputies. Three deputies abstained. With this Declaration the members of parliament condemn the assimilation policy of the totalitarian regime towards the Muslim faith minority in Bulgaria as well as the revival process. According to the document the chasing away of 390 000 Bulgarian citizens of Turkish descent back in 1989, carried out by the totalitarian regime, fits the definition of ethnic cleansing. With the declaration the deputies urge the Judiciary in the country and the Chief Prosecutor to undertake all the necessary steps to bring to a close the case against the culprits of the so called “Revival Process”. The attempts to close the trial, on the grounds of legal prescription, transfers the guilt from the real perpetrators to the Bulgarian people. In the preamble of the declaration deputies express their indignation at the fact that in the course of the last 20 years the Bulgarian legal system has not made possible the punishment of those guilty for the attempted forceful assimilation.

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