Bulgarian justice minister’s resignation triggers political melodrama

Radan Kanev said he would step down as co-chair of the Reformist Bloc parliamentary group, one of the junior partners in Bulgaria’s government coalition, and would no longer “personally support” the Cabinet following the vote to re-arrange the quotas in the Supreme Judiciary Council, which also triggered the resignation of Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov.

Speaking to reporters, Kanev said that he was opposed to the changes made to the constitutional amendments on judicial reforms made between readings and had made his intention to oppose the government, should the quota re-distribution be approved, to Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, his Democrat’s for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party and the leadership of the Reformist Bloc, which is itself a coalition of several centre-right parties, DSB included.

“From this point, the Cabinet of Mr Borissov cannot count on my personal support as a Bulgarian MP. This is a position I had staked repeatedly, given today’s parliamentary behaviour of GERB. My trust, speaking personally again, has been completely destroyed,” Kanev said, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.

Borissov’s GERB, the majority partner in the government coalition, backed the redistribution of the quotas, tabled by socialist splinter ABC, another junior partner in the ruling coalition. Critics say that the change will further water down the reform proposals, which were already weakened as part of the “historic compromise” between GERB and the Reformist Bloc with the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, whose votes were crucial for the passage of the constitutional amendments.

“All the compromises that we made to this point, and they were enormous, and the full support for a governance that has been fairly dubious in nature, were all in the name of one thing and that was the successful passage of judiciary reforms in the shape of the compromise backed by more than 180 MPs. GERB has backtracked from its signature under that compromise and I cannot be in a majority with people who lied to me,” Kanev said.

Asked about whether other ministers nominated by the Reformist Bloc would tender their resignations, Kanev said that the issue of continued support for the Borissov cabinet would be discussed inside DSB and the Reformist Bloc before the end of the week.

(Radan Kanev, left, and Boiko Borissov on July 21, at the time of the ‘historic compromise’ on the constitutional amendments towards judicial reform. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)



The Sofia Globe staff

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