Bulgaria MPs Adopt Judicial Reform ProposalDomestic | March 16, 2016, Wednesday // 13:23| views
Opposition socialists oppose changes to the judiciary, with their chairperson Mihail Mikov arguing they would only lead to a battle of lobbies. File photo, BGNES
Lawmakers have approved on a first reading legal amendments paving they way for judicial reforms.
The changes include new voting procedures at the top decision-making body of the judiciary, the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), which will be split into two parts, one for judges and one for prosecutors.
The move is in line with constitutional amendments agreed in December of last year.
Decisions on appointments, promotions and dismissals of magistrates will be taken independently by colleges of judges, prosecutors and investigators respectively. A qualified majority will be needed in voting to prevent an overreaching influence of Parliament on procedures that could potentially be exerted through the parliamentary quota.
Amendments were approved by a majority of 118 lawmakers, 19 voting against and one abstaining.
All MPs who opposed the bill represent the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), its leader, Mihail Mikov, claiming the changes would result in "very serious battles of lobbies."
The judicial reform has been demanded by the EU Commission as well, with successive reports under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) urging Bulgaria to speed up changes.