Bulgaria MPs Override Presidential Veto on Military Intelligence Act

Domestic | November 5, 2015, Thursday // 12:40|  views

Yordan Bakalov. Photo by BGNES

Parliament in Bulgaria defied on Thursday President Rosen Plevneliev's veto on legislative changes that ban civilians from heading the country's military intelligence agency.

The bill was then re-voted and passed by an overwhelming majority of 159-15, two abstaining.

Under the new rules, which enter into force after lawmakers' move, Yordan Bakalov, who currently heads the Defense Information Service (DIS, the official name of Bulgaria's military intelligence agency) will have to step down.

The new holder of the position should have more than ten years of experience in the national security system and has to be be armed forces officer on active duty.

The move, which most public comments associate with the personality of Bakalov and the need to reshuffle DIS's leadership, had enjoyed wide support from both the main ruling, conservative GERB party and the largest opposition force, socialist BSP, ever since being submitted to Parliament.

However, the legislature's first attempt at passing the bill early in October was met with surprise by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who reminded he had personally put forward Bakalov's name as a next head of the DIS earlier this year.

The veto imposed by President Plevneliev was later upheld by a Parliament committee.

Bakalov, who has only had academic experience with intelligence and security, was MP in a number of legislatures in the 1990s and 2000s. Last year he served as caretaker Interior Minister between August and November, after the government of Plamen Oresharski stepped down.


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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Rosen Plevneliev, Borisov, Plevneliev, Yordan Bakalov, Bakalov, GERB, BSP, veto, Military Intelligence, Defense Information Service


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