The Bulgarian Socialist Party submitted a draft decision to remove the Immunity of Boyko Borissov

Politics | June 9, 2023, Friday // 15:10|  views

Borissov (left) and Ninova (right)

The chairman of Bulgarian Socialist Party Kornelia Ninova announced on the sidelines of parliament that the parliamentary group will submit a draft decision on removing the immunity of GERB leader Boyko Borissov. It was requested by chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev on June 2 in connection with a pre-trial proceeding, known in the media as "Barcelonagate", in which evidence of money laundering was gathered. Borissov, for his part, flatly refused to waive his immunity himself.

"The five-day period has expired and no one is doing anything. (...) Since he (Boyko Borissov) does not have the courage to give it himself, and the speaker of the parliament and the majority stomp the ball and hide it, we take the initiative to submit this project to a decision," Ninova explained, citing in support of her thesis the term specified in the rules of procedure for the work of parliament.

However, according to it, if a member of parliament does not waive his immunity himself, the request of the chief prosecutor and the data attached to it are considered by the National Assembly, which renders a decision no earlier than 5 days after the request is received, i.e. there is no deadline by which Parliament must make a decision.

The leader of the socialists added that BSP had become familiar with the practice of the parliament in the past to form a commission of inquiry for the removal of parliamentary immunity, but pointed out that then they were created with a term of between 3 and 7 days. Because of the leaked recordings of the meeting of "We Continue the Change", which talk about the formation of such, she admits that if there is now a proposal to create a temporary commission, it will be for a period of at least 6 months, in which "the ball will be stomped and some politician will be laundered". According to her, if there is still a proposal to deal with the case, BSP will vote "against". On the recordings in question, the MPs of "We Continue the Change" can be heard discussing their strategy if Borissov's immunity is requested. At that time, it was only a hypothesis and the prosecutor's office had not acted on the matter. During the discussions, Asen Vassilev assured his colleagues that they would not have to vote, since according to him, Hristo Ivanov had given an idea to introduce a European practice like in the European Parliament, "which means that Boyko's immunity will drag on for at least 6 months in some commission in which all the evidence is considered - sheet by sheet and pen by pen".

"Obviously, the creation of such a commission is not to reveal the truth, but to save Borissov from criminal prosecution. The easier and faster way to reveal the truth is for him to give up his immunity," Ninova repeated once again. A little later, BSP deputy Ivan Chenchev made a proposal in the hall that the draft decision be considered today. The chairman of the meeting, Nikola Minchev, turned him away with the argument that the judgment of what should happen rests with the chairman of the National Assembly, Rosen Zhelyazkov. He must decide whether the project should be allocated to a committee or be seen directly in plenary.

Ninova's statement came shortly after the parliamentary group of BSP went to the office of the National Assembly to get acquainted with the materials in the case. They were submitted in parts by the chief prosecutor, and according to Ninova, their volume is more than 600 pages. Some of them contain a protocol for the search and seizure of a property, approved by a ruling by the Sofia City Court, with which a lot of physical evidence - documents and electronic devices - were seized.

Ninova explained that in order to gain access to the documents, she requested written permission from the Speaker of the Parliament, Rosen Zhelyazkov, although, according to her, the materials were not labeled "Secret". She added that since the letter was signed only by her and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Georgi Svilenski, only they were allowed to see them. She described this practice as "unconventional" and "very strange" and called on Zhelyazkova to give all MPs access to the documents without having to ask for permission.

On Thursday (June 8), MP from "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" and former Minister of the Interior Boyko Rashkov also complained that MPs do not have access to the documents. "I asked if I could get acquainted with these materials, but it turned out that at the moment I can't, because they are not provided for the familiarization of the people's representatives. I have no explanation, probably tomorrow or the day after that it will become clear", he said.

GERB: Ninova is Mr. Geshev's secretary

GERB hastened to react to Ninova's words, and MP Manoil Manev was sent as a speaker. He accused the leader of the Socialists of playing a double role and posing as "Mr. Geshev's secretary".

"Doesn't it strike you that the 'ENTER' button is operated by Mr. Geshev? Mrs. Kornelia Ninova stands, stands and when someone presses her button, she starts playing the role of Mr. Geshev's assistant, for example. She comes out and starts to develop his theses", Manev said and described Ninova as "an extremely good parliamentary actress".

He linked Ninova's statement today with the BSP's refusal to support a government with the first mandate of GERB, implying that both were due to pressure from the prosecutor's office. BSP's decision came just a few hours after Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev announced that he would not leave the post himself and accused GERB and its leader Boyko Borissov of being behind the attempt to remove him. Then in his speech, Geshev stated that he was invited to resign by 10 o'clock and if he did not, someone would press the "ENTER" button for some videos. Ninova, however, denied the withdrawn support for GERB and Geshev's refusal to resign to be related.

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Tags: immunity, Geshev, Borissov, Ninova


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