Bulgarian MPs Reject President Veto on Diplomatic Service Act
The Bulgarian Parliament rejected Thursday the President's veto on the amendments to Bulgaria's Diplomatic Service Act.
129 Members of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party, the far-right, nationalist Ataka and the right-wing Blue Coalition voted against the veto while those from the opposition – the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, supported it.
The amendments to Bulgaria's Diplomatic Service Act were adopted by the Parliament in mid-July, paving the way for kicking out of office the country's 35 ambassadors proven to have been collaborators of the communist regime's secret service – State Security, DS.
The changes initiated by Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, were designed 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 outraged when 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 ambassadors abroad, in a number of key countries – from the UK to Russia and China, had been collaborators of the former State Security Service.
At the end of July, Parvanov imposed a veto on legal amendments, which ban former State Security agents from the times of the Communist regime to take up key diplomatic positions.
Mladenov, who attended the Thursday vote, stressed these amendments do not mean a monopoly on the country's foreign affairs policies, pointing out that 222 people have been hired without a job completion plus another 100 as technical personnel by his predecessor and BSP presidential hopeful, Ivaylo Kalfin, while, in comparison, he had hired only 27 technical experts.
Speaking for the media after the vote, the current Foreign Minister further vowed that by the end of the year Bulgaria will not have even one diplomatic representative with ties to DS, but failed to announce a deadline and the names of the replacements.
Mladenov further said that those unhappy with the amendments can file a claim with the Constitutional Court, warning them nevertheless that they will tarnish the image of the country.
He further rejected Parvanov's remarks that DS background was a social trait.
"These diplomats were in a voluntary job contract with the Communist Secret Services thus we are not discriminating against them," he stated.
President Parvanov himself was revealed in 2006 to have worked for the notorious State Security DS under the codename "Gotse".
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