Deadline to Nominate Constitution Judge Expires in Bulgaria
The deadline for nominations for constitutional judge from the quota of the Bulgarian Parliament expires Friday.
The hearing of the candidates before the Parliamentary Legal Subcommittee is scheduled for December 12 and the vote – for December 19.
There is only one candidate so far in the saga and scandal that have been shaking Bulgaria's Constitution Court election for a month now.
On Thursday, after 4 hours of debates, Galya Gugusheva, Deputy Head of the Special Anti-Mafia Prosecutor's Office of Appeals, became the new candidate for constitutional judge of Bulgaria's right-wing Union of Democratic Forces party, UDF.
She replaces Petar Stoyanov, former president, who was initially nominated, but turned down the invitation, citing his busy agenda abroad.
Stoyanov's nomination and his request to consider the offer for three days stirred a big scandal in UDF, spelling its near death.
The mavericks, who opposed to Stoyanov's nomination, saying it is orchestrated by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, were expelled from the party, turning its Head Emil Kabaivanov into a much despised figure.
The remaining lawmakers from Bulgaria's right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party made clear their opposition to any party nomination for constitutional judge.
This prompted the UDF leadership to lure three independent Members of the Parliament, formerly from the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, Valentin Nikolov, Dimitar Karbov, and Ognyan Tetimov, to table the new nomination.
Meanwhile, the newly-emerged marginal Coalition between the conservative Order, Law and Justice Party, RZS, and Varna pharmaceutical boss, Veselin Mareshki, dubbed RZS with Mareshki, declared they were ready to nominate their own candidate, but his or her name is currently unknown.
Last week, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly invited UDF to name a replacement for GERB's unfortunate constitutional judge nomination, saying the formation was the oldest right-wing party in Bulgaria and is a member of the European People's Party, EPP, similarly to GERB. UDF's governing body agreed and nominated Stoyanov for constitutional judge. However, he declined.
The party's MPs refused to back the nomination of former President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2001) for constitutional judge, saying they did not oppose Stoyanov personally, but the fact that the nomination was imposed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his centrist-right GERB party.
A seat in the Constitutional Court remained empty on November 15, when Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev walked out just as controversial judge Veneta Markovska was about to swear in.
Markovska's name had become implicated in allegations of trade in influence, which she was unable to dispel, but nevertheless chose not to resign, after being elected to the Constitutional Court by Parliament.
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