Bulgaria's Diplomatic Lustration Bill to Be 'Defeated' in Constitutional Court - MP
The controversial draft amendments to the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service Act banning communist secret service collaborators from holding posts will be defeated in the Constitutional Court, a Socialist MP has threatened.
This threat emerged in Bulgaria's Parliament Thursday as it started debating the changes to the law for the diplomatic service proposed by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, and designed to prohibit any collaborators – including intelligence officers and secret informers – of the so called State Security (DS), the intelligence and secret police service of the Bulgarian communist regime before 1989.
The legal amendments initiated by Mladenov are supposed to rectify the huge scandal that shook the Bulgarian government in the fall of 2010 with regards to the diplomats' lustration (i.e. limiting the participation of former communists, and especially informants of the communist secret police in the civil service). The Foreign Minister was outrage after at the end of 2010 the so-called Files Commission, the special panel examining the Communist era documentation, revealed that almost half of Bulgaria's diplomats abroad had been collaborators of the former State Security Service.
"If you accept this lustration law – I will overwhelm you in the Constitutional Court," Lyuben Kornezov, a MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, declared in Parliament Thursday threatening to kill the bill initiated by Foreign Minister Mladenov.
"This is lustration and discrimination. Everything else is a delusion," Kornezov stated regarding the proposed changes.
"I am not going to comment legally on the changes but this draft bill contradicts many rulings of the Constitutional Court, the last one from 2009, and it also contradicts the Constitution. What is more, it gets into contradiction with international agreements and law. Write them down," Kornezov told Foreign Minister Mladenov, and enumerated four international agreements ratified by Bulgaria contradicted by the proposed legislation.
"Mr. Kornezov, thank you for arosing emotions in the plenary hall, even though there was no point in what you said," Mladenov retorted. "The Bulgarian diplomatic corps is special, and it requires special and specific qualities but this does not mean that its officials do not need to answer the criteria that are in place for the rest of the Bulgarian civil servants," said the minister defending the draft law.
At the beginning of May 2011, 13 out of the 35 ambassadors with communist secret service records were returned to Bulgaria for an indefinite consultation period, with the remaining ones to be recalled in June.
However, according to the Constitution, Bulgaria's Ambassadors can only be recalled by the President. President Georgi Parvanov refused to sign the decrees for the diplomats' dismissal.
In an interview for Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) in early June 2011, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said that the legislation banning former DS agents from serving in the Bulgarian diplomatic corps will be in place by the end of 2011.
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