MPs from Bulgaria's Ruling Coalition Table Constitutional AmendmentsDomestic | May 26, 2015, Tuesday // 18:52| views
Plenary chamber of Bulgaria's National Assembly. Photo: BGNES
Bulgarian MPs, coming from parties participating in the coalition government or supporting it, tabled on Tuesday the amendments to the constitution concerning the judicial reform.
The MPs supporting the changes are from the main ruling party GERB, its junior coalition partner the Reformist Bloc (RB) and one of the parties supporting the government - the Patriotic Front (PF).
The other party backing the government – the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) did not express support for the changes, but 8 MPs from the Bulgarian Democratic Centre (BDC) did.
There are 132 MPs, who signed under the fourth amendment to the constitution, daily Dnevnik reports.
In order for the amendments to be approved at first reading, three quarters of the MPs – 180 will have to vote in favour of them.
In case the required majority is not reached, but more than two thirds of the MPs (160) voted in favour for the amendments, these could be reviewed at second reading after two months at the earliest and five months at the latest after the first reading.
Attracting the support of two thirds of the MPs seems highly unlikely at present, as the opposition BSP and DPS have announced that they are not going to support the amendments.
ABV also declared itself against the amendments as according to the party, these changes have to made by summoning a Grand National Assembly.
The leaders of GERB and RB promise to hold discussions with parliamentary groups in order to reach a consensus.
The ruling parties are expecting that the parties, which had supported the strategy for judicial reform will also vote in favour of the amendments to the constitution.
The amendments propose the division of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) into two colleges – one of the judges and one of the prosecutors with joint decisions to be taken at a plenary session.
There is also a proposal for the term of office of the body to be reduced from five to four years.
The Justice Minister will chair the plenary of the council and will be able to participate in the meetings of the two colleges as well as make statements at them.
The college of the judges will be chaired by the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS), while that of the prosecutors will be chaired by the Chief Prosectuor.
The ideas for constitutional amendments were presented in the beginning of April, when it was announced that these had been consulted with the chairs of VKS and the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) and the Chief Prosecutor.
The amendments are tabled after a postponement of one week, in which the ruling parties attempted to attract as much support as possible among the MPs.
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