Tsatsarov Invites Chief Prosecutor Rivals for Deputies
Bulgaria's newly-elected Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, has invited for his deputies his former rivals for the post – Galina Toneva and Borislav Sarafov.
The news was reported Thursday by the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily, citing reliable insider sources, speaking off-the-record.
Tsatsarov is taking the oath of office Thursday. Toneva and Sarafov have accepted the offer, Trud further writes.
Boyko Naydenov, who was the interim Chief Prosecutor, would be the other Deputy Chief Prosecutor.
Approached by Trud, Sarafov, Head of the Specialized Appellate Prosecutor's Office, has said that he could not confirm the offer to become Tsatsarov's Deputy, but has stressed if there would be such offer, he would accept it and would consider it a sign of high marks and trust.
Galina Toneva had not answered phone calls.
The Chief Prosecutor deputies are voted by the Supreme Judicial Council.
Tsatsarov inherited from former Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, now constitutional judge, three deputies – Toneva, Naydenov, and Valeri Parvanov. Naydenov has secured the deputy post since he was elected by VSS for a second 5-year term as Chief of the Investigative Services.
Toneva declared earlier, she would resign to give the new Chief Prosecutor the opportunity to appoint his own team.
Seemingly, Parvanov would be out as deputy. The other surprise is Sofia City Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov, who was considered a very strong contender, not making the cut. Plovdiv Appellate Prosecutor, Ivan Daskalov, was also mentioned as a likely candidate to become Tsatsarov's Deputy.
All appellate prosecutors have been invited to attend the ceremony in the main hall of the central court in Sofia. The ceremony is also going to be attended by Justice Minister, Diana Kovacheva, the VSS members, and Tsatsarov's predecessor, Boris Velchev.
Tsatsarov is to be sworn for a seven-year term.
Bulgaria's highest juridical body, VSS, elected him on December 20 in a controversial and highly predictable move, believed to be orchestrated by the ruling GERB party.
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. He is believed to be close to Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
The selection process for the next chief prosecutor has been denounced by civic groups, while Internet forums in Bulgaria are still overflowing with strong criticism and angry reactions.
In the last work day of 2012, President Rosen Plevneliev hurriedly signed a decree officially appointing the controversially elected chief prosecutor.
Those concerns were recalled during the VSS debates for electing the Chief Prosecutor 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 December 20 hearing, the magistrate vowed to work objectively and to continue gradual reforms of Bulgaria's judiciary during his term in office.
The election of a new Chief Prosecutor for the country was seen as a key test for the newly constituted VSS. 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.