Bulgarian Parliament Scraps Controversial Judicial Vote

Domestic | January 29, 2014, Wednesday // 11:28|  views

Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) judge, Vesselina Teneva, photo Dnevnik

Bulgaria's Parliament voted Wednesday to terminate the procedure for electing the Head of the Inspectorate at the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS).

All present 156 MPs voted unanimously in favor.

The only candidate for the post was judge Vesselina Teneva, nominated by the Members of the Parliament from the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Maya Manolova and from the liberal, predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), Chetin Kazak.

At the end of December, publications on the site for investigative journalism Bivol implicated Teneva, a judge from the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), in shady property deals.

After holding a hearing on January 6, the Ethics Committee of Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) decided that the judge has not violated the Magistrates' Code.

However, tensions and criticism about the nomination persisted and on Tuesday Manolova and Kazak withdrew it on grounds of public perception of a foregone election and the monitoring report of the European Commission under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, which asked for a more transparent procedure in this election.

Initially, the opposition centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB) of former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, said it had nothing against the nomination.

However, on Tuesday, the leader of the marginal conservative Order, Law and Justice party (RZS), Yane Yanev, brought to Borisov documents reportedly discrediting Teneva and the latter asked for an urgent parliamentary hearing of the judge and withdrew party support.

Lack of support on the part of GERB would have made the vote useless as such support was needed for the nomination to be approved.

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