Bulgarian President Roumen Radev asked the Constitutional Court to strike down a set of amendments to the country’s Administrative Procedure Code, arguing that they ran contrary to the country’s constitution and international treaties, the president’s office said on September 18.
Radev vetoed the amendments after they were passed by Parliament in July, but the National Assembly overturned the veto last week, after MPs returned from their summer recess. Only the opposition socialists backed the veto, promising to lodge their own challenge at the Constitutional Court.
In referring the bill to the court, Radev re-iterated the arguments that led him to veto it in the first place, namely that the amendments breached the principles of the rule of law and the right to legal defence.
Radev challenge covers the same controversial provisions of the bill as his earlier veto did, including changes to jurisdictional rules, introducing closed case hearings in the cassation stage of trials, “drastic increases” of fees in cassation cases and removing the cassation stage of trials in a number of circumstances.
The Constitutional Court will now have to decide whether the challenge is admissible and, if so, appoint a rapporteur judge for the case. Given the usual length of Constitutional Court cases, a final ruling would be expected in the first half of next year.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)