Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court ruled on December 12 that a challenge by 62 MPs regarding the House vote to reject the resignation of MP Delyan Dobrev was admissible.
The socialists, the main opposition party in the National Assembly, have argued that Parliament does not have the right to go against an MP’s wish to resign.
The National Assembly voted on October 4 to reject the resignation of Dobrev, a senior member of prime minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party and a former economy, energy and tourism minister in the first Borissov government. He had submitted his resignation after coming under sustained attack from the socialists over alleged favouritism in appointments in Haskovo municipality.
At the time, Borissov described Dobrev’s resignation as a “moral act” but in Parliament in Sofia, the GERB parliamentary group declined to accept Dobrev stepping down as an MP. The vote on the resignation was 99 against, 97 in favour, with 19 MPs abstaining.
Normally, the court takes on cases after they go into effect following publication in the State Gazette. Somewhat irregularly, the results of the rejected motion to dismiss Dobrev as an MP were not published in the State Gazette, even though all Parliament acts have to be, by law, published within 15 days.
The MPs that submitted the constitutional challenge had no control over that circumstance – it is the office of the Speaker of Parliament who forwards acts for publication in the State Gazette – but since Parliament’s vote had a legal consequence, namely Dobrev’s continued standing as an MP, the challenge was admissible, the court ruled.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)