Just weeks after announcing their intention to purchase eight F-16 fighter jets worth $1.26 billion from Greenville County’s Lockheed Martin facility, Bulgarian President, Rumen Radev, suddenly vetoed the deal Tuesday citing the prospective purchase as “extremely worrying.”
In a statement reported by Reuters Tuesday Radev said “the sharp disputes in parliament showed public consensus on the contracts had been neither sought nor achieved.”
“Because of the shortened legislative procedure, a number of important issues such as prices, warranties, delivery times, penalties and indemnities have remained unclear,” he said. “The commitment of the Republic of Bulgaria to obligations without a national consensus in the mutually acceptable conditions of the treaty, is extremely worrying.”
The $1.26 billion deal would have been the country’s largest military purchase since the fall of Communism three decades ago.
While Lockheed Martin spokesperson, Leslie Farmer, told the Upstate Business Journal it would be inappropriate for the company to comment on Bulgarian government policy, she said “we stand ready to support Bulgaria’s security requirements and their growing strategic relationship with the United States and NATO.”
Bulgaria’s ruling center-right party defended the contracts and expressed its readiness for another vote at a parliamentary session on Friday. Parliament could overrule Radev’s veto with a vote of at least 121 votes in the 240-seat assembly.