Tensions in Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council after Change of Spokesperson

Politics » DOMESTIC | January 21, 2016, Thursday // 15:02
Bulgaria: Tensions in Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council after Change of Spokesperson Dimitar Uzunov, the Supreme Judicial Council's new Representative. Photo by BGNES

The replacement of Sonya Naydenova as Representative of the main decision-making body of the Bulgarian judiciary has made headlines in local media outlets.

Dimitar Uzunov, a member of the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), was elected as Representative of the VSS on Wednesday following a vote of its members. Thirteen of the twenty-four members approved his nomination.

However, two members with voting rights, one of them the head of Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS) Lozan Panov, were not present at the vote.

No motives were given to explain the reshuffle.

The move has already drawn criticism from some politicians and also from President Rosen Plevneliev, who said in his annual address that, in his view as a citizen, "the way this emergency reshuffle was carried out discredits the Supreme Judicial Council".

The VSS Representative is the person authorized to voice joint positions of the council and comment on current affairs related to the council itself and the judicial system.

Uzunov's name was involved in a recent scandal after Hristo Ivanov, an ex-Justice Minister who was often at odds with the VSS, pointed to him as the person who secretly informed Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of developments at a VSS meeting. Uzunov has denied.

The session in question was dealing with "Yanevagate", a scandal with leaked recordings of phone calls allegedly hinting at dependencies of the judicial system on government officials and MPs.

The text message was then forwarded by Borisov to Lozan Panov, who read it out loud during the next VSS session.

The content was about Panov's suggestion that the Prime Minister had to be summoned to the VSS to be asked several questions about his alleged involvement in the Yanevagate recordings. His proposal was denied, according to the message.

Borisov on Wednesday said that the "SMS scandal" that was triggered by the developments was a provocation aimed at fomenting artificial tension among state institutions.

Meanwhile, in several interviews with local media outlets on Thursday Uzunov said he was ready to step down if "no changes in the right direction" are made in the work of VSS in a month's time.

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Tags: Supreme Judicial Council, Lozan Panov, Dimitar Uzunov, Sonya Naydenova, VSS, Boyko Borisov, Yanevagate, SMS scandal, Rosen Plevneliev
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