Bulgarian Right Wing Unwavering in Constitution Court Bid

Domestic | November 25, 2012, Sunday // 10:17|  views

The leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Emil Kabaivanov. Photo by BTA

Bulgaria's right-wing Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, will hold a new round of talks to nominate a constitutional judge.

The Bulgarian Standard daily cites UDF leader, Emil Kabaivanov, saying the meeting will be held Monday at park hotel Moskva (Moscow) in Sofia.

The final decision will be made Tuesday at the meeting of the National Executive Council, NIS, this time, however, the candidate will not be a political figure, but someone with outstanding expert qualities, according to Kabaivanov.

The move was triggered by former right-wing President, Petar Stoyanov (1997 – 2001) declining the Constitution Court nomination. Friday evening, Stoynov sent a letter to Kabaivanov informing he has decided to not accept it, citing his international commitments which he could not terminate despite the effort he made. He thanked for the trust and the honor.

The fate of the UDF Members of the Parliament is also expected to be known Monday – if any or all of the 9 MPs will be expelled from the party. Again before Standard, Kabaivanov has said he was not discarding such possibility, noting party followers and members across the country were outraged by the MPs for opposing Stoyanov's candidature.

Earlier Friday, before the decision of the former President was known, UDF MPs declared opposition to any party nomination for constitutional judge.

The rift in the Blue Coalition started in the spring of 2012, when UDF decided they would not run on the same ballot with partner Democrats for Strong Bulgaria DSB in the upcoming 2013 general election. The Coalition fell apart because many UDF supporters see Ivan Kostov, leader of DSB, as the archenemy and the power-hungry individual who in 2000s split Bulgaria's symbol of democracy – the right-wing movement.

The decision, however, prompted then UDF leader and MP, Martin Dimitrov, to resign. He was replaced by the largely-unknown Mayor of the town of Karlovo, Emil Kabaivanov.

A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty on November 15, when Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev walked out just as controversial judge Veneta Markovska was about to swear in.

Markovska's name had become implicated in allegations of trade in influence, which she was unable to dispel, but nevertheless chose not to resign, after being elected to the Constitutional Court by Parliament.

After Plevneliev's move, on November 16 Bulgarian MPs decided to launch a new procedure to choose another constitutional judge from the parliamentary quota.

On November 19, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly informally invited the UDF to nominate a replacement for Markovska on grounds the formation was the oldest right-wing party in Bulgaria and is a member of the European People's Party, EPP, similarly to his ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

The move is interpreted as an attempt from the PM to attract the allegiance of the Union and create further divisions in the feeble Blue Coalition between the UDF and DSB.

On Tuesday, Kabaivanov announced the nomination of the former President.

After Petar Stoyanov's nomination, it emerged that he faces boycott by all opposition parties in the Parliament, including his own.

In addition to own right-wingers, the Socialist party, BSP, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, have also said they will boycott the new procedure since, they claim, it has been rigged.

Stoyanov asked to have three days to say if he would accept the nomination, but most expected he will turn it down, as he did, deepening the constitutional crisis. The true reason political experts suspect is not his many international commitments and regular activities abroad, but rather the stern opposition his candidature would face in the Parliament.

On Thursday, the Parliament voted to strike back Markovska's appointment and to launch a replacement procedure.

In his Friday interviews, Boris Markov, member of UDF’s NIS, insisted that not only Stoyanov would accept the nomination, but UDF MPs will end up submitting his bid and voting for him. He also formally announced possible plans for a coalition with GERB in the next Cabinet.

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Tags: DPS, BSP, DSB, Ekaterina Mihaylova, European Commission, Iskra Fidosova, MPs, Chair, parliament, Legal Committee, DPS, 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, Ivan Kostov, DSB, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, Emil Kabaivanov, UDF, Union of Democratic Forces, Boris Markov, Petar Stoyanov, quota, constitutional judge


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