Grozdan Iliev Fills Bulgarian Constitutional Court Vacancy
The Bulgarian Parliament elected without any debates judge Grozdan Iliev to fill the vacancy at the Constitutional Court (KS).
Iliev, the only candidate for a Constitutional Court judge, was the Deputy Chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS), and was nominated by the center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB.
117 MPs voted for, 11 were against and 2 abstained.
The leader of the right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, DSB, and former Prime Minister, Ivan Kostov, demanded a new vote on grounds only one MP each from the main opposition formations – of the Bulgarian Socialists, BSP, and of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms of the ethnic Turks, DPS – had taken part in the vote.
Kostov said the above stirred suspicions of a secret agreement among parties. His proposal was however rejected after stirring outraged shouts in plenary hall.
Iliev told the MPs he had started his career before the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 and admitted he has been at the time a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party, BCP, for three years.
He was adamant his reputation is clean and a war to discredit him is not to be expected, but noted any public figure could be ready to be attacked.
The filling of the vacancy at KS will allow it to finally start functioning after the notorious failure of the bids of judge Veneta Markovska and prosecutor Galya Gugusheva amidst accusations of shady practices, conflict of interests, and money laundering.
During his hearing, Iliev declared he is non-partisan, despite being nominated by GERB, stressing throughout his entire career he has always strived to be independent and consistent.
"I have never met or spoken with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov," he declared Friday.
Iliev was nominated by the GERB MP, Krasimir Tsipov, citing his extensive experience and impeccable reputation.
When asked if citizens would be able to turn to the Constitutional Court, he replied: "Someday it would be possible," but stressed he was concerned people would approach the Court over lost cases, instead of violations of basic human rights.
The vote on Iliev's nomination was scheduled for March 6, but was changed due to the chocking resignation of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, and the fact Bulgaria is without a Constitutional Court since October, 2012.
The resignation could lead to the adjourning of the Parliament, thus if the vacancy is not filled ASAP, there will be no instance to examine claims connected to election results.
On Wednesday, Borisov made the stunning announcement he was resigning, grounding the decision on not wanting to see blood on streets and fences around the building of the Parliament. He said he was returning the power to the people who elected him in the summer of 2009.
The breaking news about Borisov's resignation came in the aftermath of large-scale protests across the country against high utility bills, leading to clashes with riot police with many injuries and vandalism.
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