Bulgaria Ex-Justice Min Warns of Chief Prosecutor's 'Excessive Power'
Only reforms coordinated with the Chief Prosecutor can be carried out in Bulgaria, former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov has said.
Ivanov, who on Wednesday stepped down after Parliament approved an amended version of his reform proposals, commented in an interview with private NOVA TV station on Thursday on the motives that had prompted him to step down.
In his words, "[Prime Minister] Mr Borisov always got it straight with me that only things coordinated with [Chief Prosecutor] Sotir Tsatsarov will be done."
After the "historic compromise" earlier this autumn, with an overwhelming majority of 180 MPs approving proposlas for consitutional reform, "what happened was what Tsatsarov wanted," he argued.
He stepped down just after Bulgarian lawmakers passed judicial reform proposals on Thursday, diviging the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) into two colleges, one for judges and one for prosecutors, and changing voting procedures.
Some of the proposed changes were later revised, amending sections that referred to the number of magistrates and prosecutors and their respective "political" (appointed by Parliament) and "professional" (appointed by the VSS) quotas.
Ivanov, however, opined that it was "obvious in Bulgaria when the Chief Prosecutor could change Parliament's [mind] this way so that his wish turns into law".
He also said his resignation had been "completely predictable."
"From the very first day I clearly stated I am coming with my team for specific tasks and will remain in office until the day they can be carried out," he added.
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