Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev is to lodge a challenge in the Constitutional Court to Delyan Peevski’s place as an MP, just a few days after a request to do so by the Reformist Bloc and after the court rejected an earlier challenge to the controversial figure’s place in the 42nd National Assembly.
Peevski’s short-lived appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security was the catalyst for continuing public protests demanding the resignation of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government, whose MPs joined with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms to place Peevski, a member of a family with massive media ownerships, at the head of SANS.
In its earlier finding, in response to an application by a group of MPs from centre-right opposition party GERB, the court split over the question whether Peevski’s swearing-in and other actions as head of SANS made him ineligible to be an MP.
A majority of seven of the 12 members of the court would have been required for the GERB application to be upheld, but a six-five split with one dissenting opinion meant that Peevski could take up a seat in the National Assembly.
Elected as an MRF MP, Peevski stayed out of Parliament while the first application to the Constitutional Court was pending, but also has not appeared in the House since the outcome of the case.
According to a report by Mediapool, the office of the Presidency was working on coming up with a watertight case against Peevski being an MP.
The case could take on the Peevski question at a different angle, arguing that when – after public outrage against the Peevski appointment as head of SANS – Parliament revoked its election of him, it actually did not proceed properly in doing so.
This would mean not only that Peevski is still head of SANS, but also that his elected successor, current incumbent Vladimir Pisanchev, is not.
In this scenario, to correct this procedurally, Peevski would have to resign as head of SANS, which would also mean that he is not an MP.
Should the new application to the Constitutional Court be successful, it would leave Peevski neither as head of SANS nor as an MP.
The Peevski issue has been a continuing theme in relations between the President and the government.
After the election in Parliament of Peevski as head of SANS, Plevneliev publicly withdrew his confidence in the government, and has issued positive statements about the anti-government protests.
The BSP has endorsed a series of counter-protests demanding Plevneliev’s resignation as head of state, while media aligned to the ruling axis have hurled a series of smears against him.
Public opinion polls show Plevneliev as remaining among Bulgaria’s most popular politicians, while a recent Alpha Research poll said that 76 per cent of Bulgarians wanted the resignation of the BSP government and early elections.