Bulgaria PM Makes U-Turn on Amendments to Judiciary Act

Domestic | June 14, 2012, Thursday // 16:21|  views

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has sought a presidential veto on the newly passed amendments to the Judiciary Act. Photo by BGNES

Slightly after the adoption of amendments to the Judiciary Act, Prime Minister and leader of center-right ruling party GERB Boyko Borisov made a U-turn on the matter, encouraging President Rosen Plevneliev to impose a veto.

Although Plevneliev has not shared his plans about the veto, he is expected to follow Borisov's recommendations.

Borisov's disapproval is due to provisions included between the first and second reading stating that the current members of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) will be automatically promoted after their terms in office expire (the so-called "career bonus").

Borisov also disagrees with the idea that the current VSS members should have the opportunity to appoint the next Chief Prosecutor.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister told journalists Thursday that he would congratulate the President if he imposed a veto.

"I am hoping that the President will return the law on Tuesday or Wednesday, so that the procedure can start and the law can be put to a new vote," he added.

Borisov suggested that neither the President nor the Prime Minister were authorized to make comments about VSS because it was an independent body.

Elaborating on his opposition to the option of current VSS members nominating the next Chief Prosecutor, he noted that the VSS incumbents had failed public trust.

He emphasized that his reasons for withdrawing support for the amendments to the Judiciary Act were rather of moral character.

Borisov announced that he had discussed the matter with Plevneliev and that they shared the same opinion.

One week ago, Plevneliev said that he was holding consultations on the law and would come up with a stance on the matter by the end of the week.

In his June 8 statement, Plevneliev opposed the proposal for granting "career bonuses" to the outgoing VSS members.

He also condemned the idea that the current VSS staff should appoint the next Chief Prosecutor.

The option surfaced after the deadline for the launch of the appointment procedure was moved 4 months earlier.

Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev's term in office expires on February 19.

Prior to the adoption of the latest set of amendments to the Judiciary Act, the procedure for the appointment of Velchev's successor was to start on December 19 and to end on January 19.

However, MPs rescheduled the procedure, setting the start on August 19 and the end on November 19.

The step means that the current VSS panel will have 45 days to appoint a new Chief Prosecutor because its term in office expires on October 3.

Speaking on June 8, Plevneliev dismissed allegations that the amendments had been passed because the incumbents at VSS would be more willing to appoint a convenient a Chief Prosecutor for the GERB government.

He said that the step had been taken to ensure sufficient time to discuss the applications and transparency in the selection process.

The option of current VSS members deciding the next Chief Prosecutor was also opposed by Vice President Margarita Popova, Chief Prosecutor Boris Velchev and Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva.

Unlike them, however, President Rosen Plevneliev has the power to block the appointment by refusing to sign a decree for the appointment of the new Chief Prosecutor.

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Tags: Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Rosen Plevneliev, veto, Judiciary Act, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, Boris Velchev, Margarita Popova, Chief Prosecutor, GERB


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