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Bulgarian PM to Back Right-Wing Constitution Court Nominee

Politics » DOMESTIC | November 19, 2012, Monday // 14:48| Views: 758 | Comments: 0
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Bulgarian PM Vows Support for Right-Wing Constitution Court Candidate: Bulgarian PM to Back Right-Wing Constitution Court Nominee The leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Emil Kabaivanov. Photo by BTA

The Members of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, will support a right-wing nomination for a new constitutional judge.

The news emerged after a Monday meeting between Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Emil Kabaivanov.

"Whoever they nominate, I guarantee the GERB MPs' support," Borisov said.

The Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee chair Iskra Fidosova, quoted by Standard daily, said earlier that GERB would support any good, consensus-figure nomination, but would not have their own candidate.

Last Thursday, controversial magistrate, Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, Veneta Markovska, elected to become one of the two new constitutional judges from the parliamentary quota, was prevented from taking the oath of office by Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, who left the ceremony, thus blocking her appointment.

Markovska was nominated by independent Members of the Parliament, and supported by 78 GERB MPs, in addition to MPs from opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS.

Despite a tipoff sent to the opposition and an investigative journalistic report from 2010 raising suspicions of corruption and trading influence, at the end of October the MPs voted for Markovska's appointment without a hearing and without asking her for explanations.

Then the nomination of the right-wing Blue Coalition between UDF and Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, was the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Ekaterina Mihaylova from DPS. On Monday, DSB, led by former PM Ivan Kostov, said they would not have a candidate over the tarnished procedure.

The Blue Coalition, however, will be extinct after the end of term of the current Parliament, since earlier in the year UDF voted to terminate their membership. Kabaivanov, who opposes Kostov, stated Monday they will have their own candidate.

Markovska's election led to the European Commission issuing of two warnings it could publish an emergency report for Bulgaria on the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Corruption and Organized Crime.

Last Thursday, the President left at the moment Markovska had to be sworn in. He delivered an address to the new members of the Constitutional Court, but left the hall when it was Markovska's turn to take the oath. Plevneliev's move blocked her joining of the Constitutional Court since under the law the oath is considered valid only if taken in the presence of the Head of State.

The other three - Georgi Angelov, a magistrate from VAS, elected from the judicial quota, former Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, who was nominated by the President, and the second one (in addition to Markovska) from the parliamentary quota – former Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, Anastas Anastasov, were sworn in.

GERB representatives have repeatedly stressed that Anastasov was their nomination.

On Friday, the Bulgarian Parliament's Legal Committee decided to start a new procedure to elect and appoint a constitutional judge from the parliamentary quota. Fidosova now pledges a full probe of any possible tipoffs, even anonymous ones.

New nominations can be submitted between November 22 and 30, while the new vote is scheduled for December 19. Questions to the candidates can be submitted by December 10, the Legal Committee hearing will take place on December 12.

The Blue Coalition was the only political formation that did not support Markovska's nomination back in October.

During the week, the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, is to decide if she is to keep her job as a VAS magistrate and Deputy Chair, posts from which she resigned in order to take the Constitution Court oath.

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Tags: Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Emil Kabaivanov, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, DSB, Ivan Kostov, oath of office, Veneta Markovska, Supreme Administrative Court, European Commission, Constitutional Court, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, resignation, Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, GERB, cooperation and verification mechanism, VAS, Rosen Plevneliev, president, DPS, Legal Committee, parliament, Chair, MPs, Iskra Fidosova, European Commission, Ekaterina Mihaylova, DSB, BSP, DPS, quota, constitutional judge
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