Cabinet Considers Judicial Reforms Through Constitutional Changes

Politics » DOMESTIC | April 16, 2015, Thursday // 18:51
Bulgaria: Cabinet Considers Judicial Reforms Through Constitutional Changes From left to right: Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov during their joint pressconference on the reforms in the judiciary. Photo: BGNES

The Bulgarian government proposed on Thursday amendments to the constitution, which foresee the division of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) into two colleges.

The amendments also propose the mandates of VSS members to be reduced to three or four years, Darik radio reports.

Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov justified the proposed division of VSS with the need to guarantee the structural independence of the court.

Ivanov presented the proposals for the amendments together with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova.

The Justice Minister pointed that this proposal did not exhaust the whole set of planned reforms in the judiciary.

PM Borisov assured that he will request from his party GERB to withdraw their bill on judicial reform and that a maximum parliamentary support will be sought for the proposed reform.

The reform had already been discussed with the leaders of the junior coalition partner - the Reformist Bloc (RB).

The proposals were also discussed with Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov and the chairpersons of the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) and Supreme Administrative Court (VAS).

The government proposes reelection of VSS and its division into two colleges – one of the judges and another of the prosecutors and investigators.

The college of the judges will be elected by other judges, while the proposal for the second college foresees a parliamentary quota with greater weight, which will control the acts of the prosecution.

The Chief Prosecutor will present an account to the college of prosecutors once a year.

Minister Ivanov announced that the other proposed reforms were reduction of the mandates of the VSS members and visible voting.

PM Borisov expressed his assurance that the proposal will receive the necessary support and will manage to secure a qualified majority of 180 MPs.

According to him, the reform will lead to the lifting of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) of the European Commission.

Interior Minister Bachvarova revealed that the aim of the government is to pass the amendments at first reading until the end of the current parliamentary session.

In order for the amendments to be finally adopted, they will have to be approved at three readings.

In case the constitution is not amended, the VSS will remain to function for the next two and a half years.

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Tags: Bulgaria, government, constitution, VSS, Hristo Ivanov, Boyko Borisov, Rumyana Bachvarova, court, judiciary, reform, amendment, GERB, RB, Sotir Tsatsarov, VKS, VAS, prosecution, CVM, European Commission
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