Bulgarian Parliament Finally Cancels Controversial Judge Appointment

November 22, 2012, Thursday // 11:34
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Parliament Finally Cancels Controversial Judge Appointment
Sofia Photo Agency

After a debate that divided even MPs from ruling GERB party, the Bulgarian Parliament has voted to cancel its decision to appoint tainted judge Veneta Markovska a member of the Constitutional Court.

Thursday Parliament convened to discuss adopting procedural rules for an appointment of a new judge to replace Markovska, but MPs were divided as to whether they are oblidged to formally cancel their appointment first.

While Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva (GERB) argued that the house must cancel its prior decision, Legal Affairs Committee chair Iskra Fidosova (also GERB) argued that it does not need to do so.

In the end, MPs voted unanimously to release Markovska from her appointment.

Markovska, who did not manage to dispell allegations of trade in influence, was not able to swear in as Constitutional Judge last Thursday, after President Rosen Plevneliev walked out of the ceremony.

This has left institutions at a loss regarding the constitutionally requisite steps needed to be taken in such a situation.

In the meanwhile, Markovska had announced she will retire from Bulgaria's judicial system.

Thursday MPs decided that nominations will be made in the period November 22-30, with candidates making a self-presentation in front of the Legal Affairs Committe on December 12 at a sitting which will be broadcasted live on the Parliament's website.

Candidates will then be heard in plenary at a sitting December 19, when MPs will vote to pick up their choice among them.

Monday Bulgarian PM and GERB leader Boyko Borisov announced that after talks with the leadership of minor rightist Union of Democratic Forces the two parties agreed that GERB MPs would support a UDF candidacy.

On their part, opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms strongly protested that development, saying that the election of a new constitutional judge should not be made behind the back of Parliament.

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