Bulgaria MP Committee Turns Down Constitutional Changes
Lawmakers in the Legal Affairs Committee with Bulgaria's Parliament have rejected constitutional changes supported by the Justice Ministry.
Amendments were narrowly (5-6) voted down in a Tuesday sitting of the committee which comes ahead of a plenary session later this week.
Though committee votes are not binding, they often point to how MPs will act at the plenary.
At least 160 (out of 240) lawmakers will be needed to pass constitutional changes which are aimed at boosting the judiciary through reform in a number of areas, including in the structure and organization of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), the judiciary's top body.
Bulgaria's government is exploring ways to enforce independence of the judiciary and put an end to what Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov describes as decades-long dubious practices.
The cabinet is acting upon recommendations of the EU Commission which it has issued in several monitoring reports in a row.
The opposition, however, maintains the latest reform proposals are aimed at reshuffling top judicial officials to "square accounts" and ensure that the executive can easily exert control over the judiciary.
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