Bulgaria's Split Right Refuses to 'Play Constitution Game'

Domestic | November 26, 2012, Monday // 18:24|  views

Svetoslav Malinov from the right-wing party of former PM Ivan Kostov took a seat in the European Parliament on December 1, 2011, under amendments to the Lisbon treaty which added 18 extra members to the current legislature. Photo by BGNES

One of the parties in the feeble Bulgarian right-wing Blue Coalition, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, DSB, confirmed Monday that they would not nominate again the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Ekaterina Mihaylova, for constitutional judge.

"We refuse to participate in a procedure rigged by those ruling the country. We would not support any nomination of the other right-wing party Union of Democratic Forces, UDF," said the DSB Deputy Chair, MEP Svetoslav Malinov, stressing the blame for the scandals engulfing the country's highest Court – the Constitution Court, falls personally on Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

Malinov pointed out that for a week now Borisov was attempting to transfer the responsibility for the constitutional crisis to the right wing.

On Sunday, Borisov stated he would be willing to back a DSB nomination for constitutional judge and that Mihaylova would be a marvelous one.

"Mihaylova's prestige is high enough for the PM to fail to notice it the first time she was nominated. This demonstrates the pathetic and ridiculous situation Borisov is in now," said Malinov.

A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty when on November 15 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, Bulgarian MPs decided to launch a new procedure to choose another constitutional judge from the parliamentary quota.

On November 19, Borisov unexpectedly informally invited 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 was and is interpreted as an attempt from the PM to attract the allegiance of the Union and create further divisions in the weakened Blue Coalition between UDF and DSB.

In the aftermath, UDF leader Emil Kabaivanov rushed to announce the nomination of former right-wing President, Petar Stoyanov (1997 – 2000), but it emerged quickly that he faced 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, 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 would turn it down, as he did last Friday, deepening the constitutional crisis. The true reason political experts suspect was not his cited many international commitments and regular activities abroad, but rather the stern opposition his candidature would face in the Parliament.

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

Earlier Monday, UDF voted to expel from the party the Members of the Bulgarian Parliament, Martin Dimitrov, who is also a former leader of the party, Dimo Gyaurov, and Vanio Sharkov on grounds they failed to support Stoyanov's nomination.

Meanwhile, Kabaivanov declared UDF was still determined to come up with a new nomination for the country's Constitutional Court.

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Tags: Ivan Kostov, Petar Stoyanov, GERB, DSB, EPP, president, UDF, Union of Democratic Forces, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, Blue Coalition, parliament, Boyko Borisov, Yordan Sokolov, Constitutional Court, constitutional judge, Veneta Markovska, Rosen Plevneliev, Dimo Gyaurov, right-wing, Martin Dimitrov, MP, UDF, Union of Democratic Forces, Svetoslav Malinov, DPS, BSP, Ekaterina Mihaylova, Emil Kabaivanov


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