Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court decides Delyan Peevski is still an MP – updated

The Constitutional Court said on October 8 that Delyan Peevski in place as a member of Parliament in spite of his short-lived appointment in June as head of the State Agency for National Security.

The Constitutional Court sat from 10am to 1pm on the case, which was brought to the court by members of the centre-right opposition GERB party who argued that Peevski was no longer an MP after he taken the oath in June as head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS).

The appointment of Peevski, then an MP for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and linked to a family with extensive media ownerships in Bulgaria, fuelled widespread public support for anti-government protests demanding the immediate resignation of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government.

On October 8, after several Bulgarian-language media, citing “informed sources” at the court said that Peevski would be retaining his seat in the 42nd National Assembly, social networks saw a torrent of posts from anti-government protesters calling on people to turn out in the evening to protest against the court’s reported decision.

Reports suggested that the court, said to have evenly divided among its 12 judges on the issue, had accepted the argument that while Peevski 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.

When the court posted its judgment on the matter on the evening of October 8, it dwelt at length on the issue of “incompatibility”.

Bulgaria’s constitution, article 72 (1) 3, says that a person ceases to be an MP in the event of “establishment of ineligibility or incompatibility” with occupying this post. The court found that at the time of the application by 96 MPs to have Peevski ruled not to be an MP, he did not fail the test of incompatibility because he was not head of SANS.

Before then, unconfirmed reports said that the Constitutional Court had failed to achieve agreement among its 12 members on the case, which procedurally would shift the decision back to the National Assembly.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)




The Sofia Globe staff

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