Bulgaria's New Chief Prosecutor to be Known in December

Society | November 8, 2012, Thursday // 13:10|  views

Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, has a November 23 deadline to launch the procedure for electing the country's new Chief Prosecutor. Photo by BGNES

The vote to appoint Bulgaria's new Chief Prosecutor will take place in mid-December, the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, decided Thursday.

VSS also extended the deadlines for citizens, magistrates, and NPOs to ask questions to the candidates. It took the Council 3 hours to debate the rules for the election of the Chief Prosecutor.

The nominations must be signed by at least 5 VSS members and included concrete arguments as to why the candidate has been proposed. Candidates must present a property declaration and a declaration clearing them from conflict of interests. Currently there aren't any nominations.

In order to be elected, a candidate needs 17 votes from VSS members. The practice until now, due to this high majority, was to seek preliminary consensus for one nomination, but VSS now promise to have alternative ones.

VSS will also prepare a set of criteria to assess the management and judicial experience and competence of the candidates.

Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev was nominated for constitutional judge by the President on October 20, 2012, and had to take the oath of office within one week after the October 31 official decree for his appointment.

For this reason, he submitted his resignation one week ago before the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS. The resignation was approved unanimously.

The deadline to launch the procedure for electing the country's new Chief Prosecutor is November 23, because under the law the procedure must be open no earlier than 6 months and no later than 3 months after the term of the Chief Prosecutor expires.

Three names have been circulating lately as top contestants to replace Velchev - his Deputy, Galina Toneva, the Chairman of the Plovdiv Regional Court, Sotir Tsatsarov, who is rumored to be well-liked by the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, and the Sofia City Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov.

Meanwhile, Boyko Naydenov, just reelected by VSS as Head of Bulgaria's National Investigation Services, has been appointed Bulgaria's interim Chief Prosecutor after Velchev's last week resignation. He hinted he is inclined to enter the race for Chief Prosecutor.

Velchev's 7-year term in office as Chief Prosecutor began in 2006. He used to be the legal advisor of former left-wing President Georgi Parvanov. His Chief Prosecutor's term was set to expire in February 2013.

In the last day of October, the European Commission announced that Bulgaria might face an interim report on justice and home affairs in case "the situation requires it."

The warning was issued in the aftermath of new judicial appointments in Bulgaria and was stated by Olivier Bailly, spokesperson of EC.

The spokesperson stressed EC is alarmed by the latter and intents to monitor very closely processes in the Bulgarian justice system and to include them in the next monitoring report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, CVM.

In answering questions from the media, Bailly stressed that EC expects from Bulgaria to adhere to European standards in the forthcoming election of Chief Prosecutor and Chief Investigator, and in all other judiciary appointments.

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Tags: Boyko Naydenov, Boris Velchev, Chief Prosecutor, Members of the Parliament, National Investigative Services, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, report, EC, Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), CVM, election, investigator, Prosecutor, president, GERB


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