Bulgaria: Ivan Geshev remains Prosecutor General with only 2 Votes "In Favor" of his Removal
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) refused to prematurely terminate the mandate of the Prosecutor General. Only two of the members of the Supreme Court - Atanaska Disheva and Olga Kerelska - were "in favor" of the removal of Ivan Geshev, all the other 16 voted "against" and so he remains in his post. The Prosecutor General did not participate in the vote.
Heavy hours of debate preceded the vote
Around 12 hours, the members of the Supreme Judicial Council debated yesterday on the requests of the resigned Minister of Justice Nadezhda Yordanova and her predecessor Yanaki Stoilov to prematurely terminate the mandate of the Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev.
"Some people should feel ashamed of what happened the SJC, and these are not the members of the SJC. These are ordinary politicians who used a constitutional procedure to achieve frankly political goals without any grounds. This procedure had only and only a political goal and maybe a PR goal. I don't believe that either the political goal or the media goal will be achieved for the simple reason that to achieve these goals at least some effort should be made - someone should read a little, show more respect and decency to the Bulgarian judiciary and to the Bulgarian citizens," Geshev said after the vote.
Nadezhda Yordanova announced that her team will analyze whether there is a legal possibility to appeal the result of the vote or whether it is necessary to request an interpretative decision from the Constitutional Court:
"In the Ministry of Justice, other grounds are being considered, apart from those in the proceedings, which have ended. The moment we finish the work, we will also take actions on their presentation to the plenary session of the Supreme Judicial Council. The principle of the rule of law requires that this authority to not be influenced by the personnel of the decision-making body".
Even before the discussion on the merits, “accuser number one in the country” announced that the grounds for his removal were political.
Mastering the prosecutor's office and electing an obedient chief prosecutor who will carry out the orders of the political power - this is how Ivan Geshev explained why his removal was requested: "I will not be obedient and I have never been obedient," said prosecutor number one, according to whom the activation of the procedure by Stoilov and Yordanova also aimed "to discredit the Supreme Judicial Council".
To these accusations, the resigned Minister of Justice responded: "Insisting on the observance of the Constitution, insisting on the observance of the laws, the work of the chief prosecutor honestly, honorably, lawfully, with high professional and moral qualities, is not mastering the prosecutor's office. This is a rule of law."
13 are the grounds in Stoilov's and Yordanova's proposals in total. The debate on them continues with the active participation of Ivan Geshev, who refutes them or qualifies them as: "Everything is political laughter".
Here is his summary of the demands for his resignation: "We are talking about judgments, conclusions, political empty clichés, propaganda posters. These are the ones that do not have any objective coverage, are offensive to the entire judiciary and represent politically incorrect theses to achieve only political results that damage not only the prestige of the judiciary, they damage statehood and are a shame for those who write them".
On several occasions, the Prosecutor General has stated that he cannot be held responsible for the actions of rank-and-file prosecutors or administrative heads, nor the press office of the State Prosecution Service.
Which provoked one of his few opponents among the judicial personnel - Atanaska Disheva, to state that from his answers she got the impression that Geshev did not have any authority: “Because to everything that has been affected so far, he answered: ‘This is not my authority’, "This is not my duty’. Probably by the end of today's discussion or the discussion of these proposals, whenever it happens, we will come to the conclusion that the Prosecutor General has virtually no powers," said Disheva.
The serious accident of Tuesday evening, in which two young women died, also became part of the debate in the SJC.
The reason - among Nadezhda Yordanova's grounds are the instructions of the number one prosecutor in the cases of traffic offenses committed by drivers who used alcohol or drugs, to take action to seize the vehicle.
Geshev presented these guidelines, as well as proposals for heavier penalties for such drivers, two years ago after the accident in which the journalist Milen Tsvetkov died.
In this regard, accuser number one commented: "The rulers, the National Assembly, had the last seven months to solve this problem with two elementary amendments. Did they do it? No. Maybe if they did, I dare not say so with firmness, but perhaps these children would still be alive, as well as many others."
"Manipulating people's feelings and making an extremely populist statement, which, by the way, is characteristic of Mr. Geshev's overall behavior as chief prosecutor, is completely unacceptable," said Atanaska Disheva, a member of the SJC Council, on the occasion of Geshev's words.
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