Bulgarian President’s consultative council fails to solve key disputes over proposed new anti-corruption body
A meeting on October 17 of Bulgaria’s Consultative Council on National Security, called by President Roumen Radev, failed after four hours of talks to produce agreement on the role and functions of a proposed new anti-corruption body.
The meeting was a sequel to an abortive one on October 9, which lasted three hours but collapsed because of a lack of a quorum – an inconclusive end that prompted Radev to call the second attempt on October 17.
Rival bills on a new anti-corruption body have been tabled in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, one by the government and the other by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party. Key differences between the bills are whether or not the body will have investigative functions, and who will appoint its head. The government wants the government to do so. The BSP wants the appointee named by the President. Radev won the presidential elections in 2016 on a ticket backed by the BSP.
Radev, speaking after the meeting, said that participants had agreed that results in the fight against corruption were low because of imperfections in the legislation.
He said that participants had agreed that there should be changes to the Penal Code regarding corruption crimes.
Further, the National Assembly should adopt the law against corruption, and the new law should regulate comprehensive measures including prevention of corruption, and confiscation of unlawfully acquired property, participants had agreed, according to Radev.
While stating that the meeting had failed to agree on the role and functions of the future anti-corruption and the principles for appointing its head, Radev said that a investigative independent body was indeed needed.
By Bulgarian law, the Consultative Council on National Security is convened by the head of state. Those who attend include the Prime Minister and key Cabinet ministers, representatives of parties that have official groups in Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly, as well as defence, intelligence and security chiefs.