Bulgaria's GERB Snub Constitutional Judge Nomination

Domestic | November 19, 2012, Monday // 09:25|  views

The Bulgarian Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee chair Iskra Fidosova, says GERB would support any good, constitutional judge nomination, but will not have their own candidate. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, are not going to nominate a new constitutional judge.

Last Thursday, controversial magistrate, Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, 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 Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee chair Iskra Fidosova, quoted by Standard daily, says GERB would support any good, consensus-figure nomination.

Markovska was nominated by independent Members of the Parliament, and supported by 78 GERB MPs, in addition to MPs from opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS.

New nominations can be submitted between November 22 and 30, while the new vote is scheduled for December 19.

Despite the tipoff sent to the opposition and an investigative journalistic report from 2010 raising suspicions of corruption and trading influence, at the end of October the MPs voted for Markovska's appointment without a hearing and without asking her for explanations.

This led to the European Commission issuing of two warnings it could publish an emergency report for Bulgaria on the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Corruption and Organized Crime.

Last Thursday, 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. Plevneliev's move blocked her 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 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.

GERB representatives have repeatedly stressed that Anastasov was their nomination.

On Friday, the Bulgarian Parliament's Legal Committee decided to start a new procedure to elect and appoint a constitutional judge from the parliamentary quota. Fidosova now pledges a full probe of any possible tipoffs, even anonymous ones.

During the week, the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, is to decide if Markovska is to keep her job as a VAS magistrate and Deputy Chair, posts from which she resigned in order to take the Constitution Court oath.

BSP say they are still deciding if they will nominate someone to take the vacant spot. Their candidate, Tatyana Varbanova from the Sofia City Court, failed to make the cut at the first vote.

Socialist MPs say the Parliament must annul Markovska's election first, but GERB representatives counter it is not needed since the parliamentary Constitutional Court quota remains unfilled.

The right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, are going to decide Monday if they will have their own candidate. They explain it all depends on the decision of the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Ekaterina Mihaylova. Mihaylova was their first nomination and is well-respected by MPs from different political formations.

DPS declared they would not participate at all in the second procedure.

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Tags: oath of office, Veneta Markovska, Supreme Administrative Court, European Commission, Constitutional Court, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, resignation, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, GERB, cooperation and verification mechanism, VAS, Rosen Plevneliev, president, DPS, Legal Committee, parliament, Chair, MPs, Iskra Fidosova, European Commission, Ekaterina Mihaylova, DSB, BSP, DPS, quota, constitutional judge


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