Bulgaria Constitutional Court dismisses President’s challenge against Peevski

Written by on January 14, 2014 in Bulgaria - No comments

Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court has ruled as inadmissible the challenge lodged by President Rossen Plevneliev against the appointment of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for State Security (SANS), specialist judiciary news website Legalworld.bg reported on January 14.

The report said that eight judges voted in favour of the ruling and three were against, while one was absent. There were three separate opinions for why the challenge should be inadmissible, the report said, but the court was yet to post its decision on its website.

Plevneliev’s challenge argued that Parliament’s decision, on June 19, to dismiss Peevski as head of SANS was unconstitutional. If the challenge had been successful, that would have meant that SANS had two directors – Peevski and Vladimir Pisanchev, appointed by Parliament on July 19 – creating a quandary that could have been solved only by one of the two directors resigning.

This ruling should mark the end of the court saga surrounding Peevski’s future as a member of Parliament – after his appointment as director of SANS in June 2013 sparked large-scale anti-government protests, Parliament voted to cancel the appointment and return Peevski to the House bench.

Since then, Peevski has not attended a single Parliament sitting and the party on whose ticket he was elected, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, said that he would stay away until the issue is definitively settled by the Constitutional Court.

The previous two challenges against Peevski – a member of a family with extensive direct or indirect ownership in print and electronic media – were rejected with the court ruling that even though he had taken the oath and in other ways behaved as if he was the head of SANS, his departure as an MP had not been voted on by the National Assembly.

The decision was criticised by some observers as setting a dangerous precedent, since it allowed MPs to be appointed to positions in the state administration without automatically relieving them from Parliament, meaning that they could still return to Parliament’s benches if they did not submit a resignation (within 30 days) for the rest of the House to vote on.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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