Bulgarian President Roumen Radev has signed the decree appointing Georgi Cholakov as the next head of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC), one of the country’s two high courts, the presidency said in a statement on October 23.
The appointment comes just days after the new line-up of Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which took office earlier this month, voted to elect Cholakov as the next head of the SAC, confirming the choice of its predecessors.
The council decided not to re-start the election proceedings, as favoured by some members of the SJC, and chose instead to hear Cholakov at its weekly meeting on October 19. After the hearing, Cholakov’s nomination received 20 votes, with four opposed.
Cholakov was widely seen as the favourite for the job due to the support offered by incumbent SAC chief Georgi Kolev, whose term expires in November. Cholakov will serve one seven-year term, during which he will sit as one of the three ex officio members of the SJC, without the option for a second term.
Kolev was seen as one of the mainstays of the majority block in the previous SJC – made up mostly by Parliament’s appointees and members elected by prosecutors – that are opposed by the smaller and more reform-minded group made up of members elected by judges.
Radev declined to make the appointment after the first vote by the old line-up of the SJC, arguing that the new line-up of the council had to elect the head of the court. In the statement announcing Cholakov’s appointment, the presidency said that he had to sign the decree as the law bars him from declining a repeat election by the SJC.
(The Palace of Justice in Sofia. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)