Bulgarian MPs cancel Peevski appointment at SANS

Bulgarian Parliament voted on June 19 to repeal its decision to appoint Delyan Peevski as director of the State Agency for National Security (SANS). The two parties in the ruling coalition said that they would ask the Constitutional Court to rule on whether Peevski can return to the Parliament bench as an MP.

The motion to cancel Peevski’s appointment was voted by 128 MPs, all in favour. Opposition party GERB, true to Boiko Borissov’s promise a day earlier, did not attend the session.

Given the public opposition to Peevski’s return as an MP, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) said that they would ask the Constitutional Court to rule on the issue.

MRF leader Lyutvi Mestan said Parliament never accepted Peevski’s resignation as an MP, the only way his mandate could be terminated. “Since there are doubts in the public space, let the only competent institution, the Constitutional Court, speak on the issue. Until then, Delyan Peevski will not set foot in Parliament and will not receive any compensation,” Mestan said.

Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev said his party will join the MRF query to the Constitutional Court. He offered apologies to party members who were disappointed by the row, saying that he alone, and not the party’s MPs, was responsible for the decision to push Peevski’s nomination.

“I want to make it clear that this proposal was made with the purest motive, to get real results instead of a simulation of activity. We will reach this goal, even if it is going to be more difficult because of this political mistake we have made,” Stanishev said.

Peevski – who was elected to Parliament on the MRF ticket and served as deputy minister in the Stanishev cabinet in 2005/09 (he was briefly fired by Stanishev for his involvement in a corruption row, but later reinstated by court decision) – was elected director of SANS on June 14, triggering the first in a series of protest rallies. The focus of the protests, initially directed against his appointment, has quickly shifted to demand the resignation of the Plamen Oresharski cabinet.

The legal quandary in this case is that Peevski’s resignation from Parliament was never voted by his fellow MPs; according to reports in Bulgarian media, he submitted such a request, but later withdrew it.

After his speedy election, Peevski took the oath of office and held a meeting with the prosecutor-general on the same day, but – as he said in the statement announcing his readiness to step down on June 15 – he had not signed the contract for his new position.

According to former constitutional court judge Georgi Markov, quoted by Sega daily, the request was superfluous because the court has already issued rulings in similar cases. In 1993, the court ruled that any MP appointed as director of a state agency automatically lost their standing as member of Parliament, Markov said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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