Constitutional Court Cancels Recall of Bulgarian Diplomats with 'State Security' Records

Diplomacy | November 23, 2011, Wednesday // 17:34|  views

Bulgaria's Constitutional Court (KS) has revoked the contested Bill Amending and Supplementing the Diplomatic Service Act. Photo by

Bulgaria's Constitutional Court (KS) has revoked the amendments to the Diplomatic Service Act banning former State Security agents from taking up key diplomatic positions.

KS canceled the amendments on Wednesday, declaring that they contradict the Constitution.

The case was brought before KS by 56 MPs from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS).

The MPs insisted that the Bill Amending and Supplementing the Diplomatic Service Act had to be declared unconstitutional in its entirety.

The opponents voiced discontent with two main aspects of the bill - the fact that it gives excessive powers to the Foreign Minister, who cannot single-handedly implement the country's foreign policy (According to the Constitution, the President embodies the unity of the nation and represents Bulgaria in its international relations) and the fact that the occupational restriction for collaborators of the communist regime's secret service, combined with the allegedly unconstitutional powers of the Foreign Minister, directly contravene seven Constitutional provisions and five clauses of international treaties.

The controversial set of legal amendments was adopted by the Parliament in mid-July, paving the way for kicking out of office the country's 35 ambassadors proven to have cooperated with the communist regime's secret service – State Security, DS.

The changes initiated by Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, were designed to rectify the huge scandal that shook the Bulgarian government in the fall of 2010 with regards to the diplomats' lustration (i.e. limiting the participation of former communists, and especially informants of the communist secret police in the civil service).

The Foreign Minister was outraged when at the end of 2010 the so-called Files Commission, the special panel examining the Communist era documentation, revealed that almost half of Bulgaria's ambassadors abroad, in a number of key countries – from the UK to Russia and China, had been collaborators of the former State Security Service.

At the end of July, Parvanov imposed a veto on legal amendments banning former State Security agents from occupying key diplomatic posts.

On September 01, Bulgaria's Parliament overturned the presidential veto, with a total of 129 "against" votes of MPs from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, the far-right, nationalist Ataka and the right-wing Blue Coalition.

The opposition, the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, supported the presidential veto.

On November 03, President-Elect Rosen Plevneliev announced that the first thing he would do after assuming office in January 2012 would be to recall all Bulgarian Ambassadors with State Security records.

The full text of the decision of KS is to be published late on Wednesday or on Thursday.

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Tags: Constitutional Court, DS, State Security, Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign miniser, communist regime, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Diplomatic Service Act, president, constitution, Rosen Plevneliev


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