Bulgarian PM Lauds Sole Chief Prosecutor Nomination
Sotir Tsatsarov, the only Chief Prosecutor candidate so far, received Tuesday the informal support of Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.
Seven members of Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, nominated last Thursday the Chairman of the Plovdiv Regional Court, Sotir Tsatsarov, 46, for the country's new Chief Prosecutor.
Tuesday, Borisov declared the nominee was the "best district judge he ever worked with when he was still Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry."
Tsatsarov is rumored to be well-liked by the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, and particularly by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
As early as the summer, the PM speaking for Nova TV, said it would be best for a judge to take over the prosecution. In 2010, Tsvetanov labeled Tsatsarov "a stable magistrate" and stressed immediately after the nomination on his impeccable reputation in Plovdiv.
Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev was nominated for constitutional judge by the President on October 20, 2012, and had to take the oath of office within one week after the October 31 official decree for his appointment.
For this reason, he submitted his resignation before the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS. The resignation was approved unanimously.
The deadline to launch the procedure for electing the country's new Chief Prosecutor was November 23, because under the law the procedure must be open no earlier than 6 months and no later than 3 months after the term of the Chief Prosecutor expires.
Meanwhile, Boyko Naydenov, just reelected by VSS as Head of Bulgaria's National Investigation Services, шас appointed Bulgaria's interim Chief Prosecutor after Velchev's last week resignation. Аt first, he hinted he was inclined to enter the race for Chief Prosecutor, but later recounted.
Other names, mentioned as possible candidates for Chief Prosecutor, include Velchev's Deputy, Galina Toneva, and the Sofia City Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov.
VSS has two more sittings during which other nominations can be made.
On the same day of Tsatsarov's nomination, VSS also decided on some controversial rules for electing the Chief Prosecutor, stirring suspicions that the strong lobby backing Tsatsarov had tailored them especially for him in an attempt to secure his post.
In order to be elected, a candidate needs 17 votes from VSS members, however, as the Bulgarian site Mediapool noted, the balance between the members shows that Tsatsarov would have a great chance if his nomination is to be voted first and separately from all others.
In order to play this scenario, the majority in VSS eliminated the traditional ballot vote and decided to introduce electronic voting.
The ballot vote makes it known how each VSS member has voted for each candidate. In the electronic vote, each nomination is voted separately, revealing the number of those for and against before the next nomination is to be placed for election.
On top of the above, VSS decided that when one nomination collects the required 17 "for," the others would not be voted at all, along with not using the alphabetical order of the names of the candidates, but the order of the submission of their concepts.
With the new rules, VSS opened the procedure to elect the new Chief Prosecutor, while the actual vote will be held in mid-December.
It was reported meanwhile that Tsatsarov has sent a letter Tuesday to Justice Minister, Diyana Kovacheva, asking for changing these rules because they mandated for his nomination to be voted first. He had not opposed the electronic voting, though.
The election of the new Chief Prosecutor comes on the heels of a still-raging scandal with the appointment of controversial judge Veneta Markovska as a member of the Constitutional Court. It shook the judicial system and the Parliament and triggered criticism from the European Commission.
EC repeatedly warned they were closely watching the election of the Chief Prosecutor as well and expected from Bulgaria to adhere to rules of transparency and integrity in making senior judicial appointments.
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