Bulgaria's Constitutional Court Finally to Elect Its Chair
After a five-month stalemate, Bulgaria finally has a functioning Constitutional Court, which is expected to elect its chair on Monday.
Three candidates are running for the post – Sofia University former Dean Dimitar Tokushev and Supreme Court former deputy heads Rumen Nenkov and Ivan Punev.
The candidate, who has the support of more than half of the judges in the Constitutional Court, will be elected its chairman.
The Court is the one that resolves claims against election results and for their recall.
Judge, Grozdan Iliev, who was elected in a hurry by the Parliament two weeks ago to fill the vacancy at the Constitutional Court, took the oath of office on Friday and was released from his previous post of Deputy Chair of the Supreme Court of Cassations (VKS).
He was nominated by the center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, whose cabinet resigned on February 21 amidst unprecedented since 1997 protest rallies against poverty, monopolies and the political model of ruling the country.
The filling of the vacancy came after the notorious failure of the bids of judge Veneta Markovska and prosecutor Galya Gugusheva amidst accusations of shady practices, conflict of interests, and money laundering.
During his hearing, Iliev declared he is non-partisan, despite being nominated by GERB, stressing throughout his entire career he has always strived to be independent and consistent.
"I have never met or spoken with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov," he declared Friday.
He also told the MPs he had started his career before the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 and admitted he has been at the time a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party, BCP, for three years.
He was adamant his reputation is clean and a war to discredit him is not to be expected. He noted, however, any public figure should be ready to be attacked.
Iliev was nominated by the GERB MP, Krasimir Tsipov, citing his extensive experience and impeccable reputation.
When asked if citizens would be able to turn to the Constitutional Court, he replied: "Someday it would be possible," but stressed he was concerned people would approach the Court over lost cases, instead of violations of basic human rights.
The vote on Iliev's nomination was scheduled for March 6. It was changed due to the shocking resignation of Borisov, and the fact Bulgaria is without a Constitutional Court since October, 2012.
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