Bulgarian PM: New Constitutional Judge Vote to Start ASAP

Domestic | November 16, 2012, Friday // 12:46|  views

Bulgarian PM, Boyko Borisov (pictured), has firmly backed the President's blocking of the Constitutional Court oath of office of a controversial judge. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Parliament would be starting as early as Friday a procedure to elect a new constitutional judge from its quota, according to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

Borisov spoke Friday at a briefing after meeting Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, who is in Sofia.

On Thursday, controversial magistrate, Veneta Markovska, elected to become one of the two new constitutional judges from the parliamentary quota, was prevented from taking the oath of office by Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, who left the ceremony, thus blocking her appointment.

The President left at the moment Markovska had to be sworn in. He delivered an address to the new members of the Constitutional Court, but left the hall when it was Markovska's turn to take the oath.

The other three - Georgi Angelov, a magistrate from VAS, elected from the judicial quota, former Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, who was nominated by the President, and the second one (in addition to Markovska) from the parliamentary quota – former Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, Anastas Anastasov, were sworn in.

Plevneliev's move blocked Markovska's joining of the Constitutional Court since under the law the oath is considered valid only if taken in the presence of the Head of State.

The President explained that a letter from the Prosecutor's Office, which he received in the last minute, only made him even firmer in his decision to block Markovska.

The case in question involves a pretrial procedure from 2010, launched on a tipoff from the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, GDBOP. It is against an unknown perpetrator for trading influence, money laundering, and bribes. According to the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, the case is connected to Georgi Georgiev, who is believed to have been Markovska's live-in boyfriend. She denied the above, saying first that she did not know him, and later that he was just a distant acquaintance. There are suspicions that through him she had received "donations" related to her work as a judge.

Also on Thursday, the Constitutional Court issued their opinion that the Parliament should now decide if they will re-launch the procedure to elect another constitutional judge from their quota.

In the aftermath, Markovska declared she had no intentions to give up on joining the Constitutional Court, and would seek a legal decision, but legal experts say the case is closed for her.

Plevneliev's move is a precedent in the entire history of the Constitutional Court since 1991 when it was established.

Markovska's appointment stirred a huge scandal in Bulgaria over a tipoff sent to Members of the Parliament from the opposition and an investigative journalistic report raising suspicions of trading influence and corruption. The case "Markovska" "traveled" all the way to the European Commission, which warned Bulgaria twice about the possibility of issuing an interim report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, and the Chairs of the Supreme Court of Cassations, and of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, also attended the ceremony.

In recent days, Plevneliev called on all newly-elected constitutional judges, "except Markovska," to take the oath. Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, reiterated three times he had asked her to drop her bid, while Justice Minister, Diyana Kovacheva, stated the reputation of one person cannot be more important than the reputation of the State.

On Thursday, Borisov praised Plevneliev for his "very wise" move.

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Tags: Anastas Anastasov, Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, Diyana Kovacheva, Justice Minister, president, Rosen Plevneliev, VAS, cooperation and verification mechanism, GERB, VSS, Supreme Judicial Council, resignation, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Constitutional Court, European Commission, Supreme Administrative Court, Veneta Markovska, oath of office, constitutional judges, Georgi Angelov


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