Sotir Tsatsarov Elected Bulgaria's New Chief Prosecutor
Judge Sotir Tsatsarov has been elected to serve as Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor for a 7-year term by the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council Thursday.
Tsatsarov, up to now head of the Plovdiv District Court, won the position at the first round, with 18 votes "for", 3 "against" and 3 abstentions.
His two opponents Thursday were Galina Toneva, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, and Borislav Sarafov, head of the Specialized Appellate Prosecutor's Office.
To get elected, one of the three has to gather more than 2/3, or 17 out of the 25 Supreme Judicial Council members' votes.
What makes the case somewhat intriguing is that the nominations of the other two candidates were supported by 5 council members each.
The procedure started at 9.30 am and took close to 10 hours, as each of the three candidates had to present and defend his or her candidacy in detail.
Among concerns voiced by various sides after the initial announcement of Tsatsarov's nomination was his alleged closeness to the executive, in particular to Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov has also spoken positively of Tsatsarov's candidacy.
Those concerns were recalled during the discussion at the Supreme Judicial Council Thursday by council member Kalin Kalpakchiev.
Other critics have brought attention to the exceedingly high number of convicting sentences in trials heard by Tsatsarov as a judge.
In his hearing Thursday, the magistrate vowed to work objectively and to continue gradual reforms of Bulgaria's judiciary during his 7-year term in office.
The election of a new Chief Prosecutor for the country is seen as a key test for the newly constituted Supreme Judicial Council.
In particular, the European Commission has stated it is keeping close track on the procedure as part of its work on the so-called Co-Operation and Verification Mechanism on corruption and organized crime.
Sotir Tsatsarov was born in 1966, and graduated in law at the Sofia University. He has served as Plovdiv District Court chair since 1999.
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