The latest in a succession of protests against the appointment of Ivan Geshev as Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General saw a large turnout on the evening of October 30, almost a week after the Supreme Judicial Council voted in favour.
The protesters called on head of state President Roumen Radev not to sign the decree appointing Geshev, but to forward the matter to Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court for an opinion.
The Supreme Judicial Council voted on October 24, by 20 votes to four, to elect Geshev to a post that he would occupy for a seven-year term beginning in January 2020.
At the time of the vote, Radev was on an official visit to Japan, and said that he would study the documentation forwarded to him before making a decision, which, he said, would be in line with the constitution.
Radev has been back in Bulgaria since October 26. Three working days later, there has been no statement from his office about a decree on Geshev.
Controversy about Geshev hit a new spike on the evening of October 30 as Maya Manolova, the socialist-backed independent candidate for mayor of Sofia who will compete in a run-off on November 3, expressed her support for the anti-Geshev protests.
Deriding, in a Facebook post, the fact that Geshev had been the sole candidate for the post of Prosecutor-General, Manolova said that this was a “mockery of the citizenry”.
Reaction to Manolova’s comments was divided, with a large proportion of those who have been protesting for months against Geshev dismissing her stance as an electioneering stunt.
Manolova challenged her rival, incumbent Sofia mayor and the candidate of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party Yordanka Fandukova, to state her position on Geshev, and what Fandukova would prefer to have “even two candidates for one of the most important positions in the country”.
“Unfortunately, she won’t be able to say anything about this,” Manolova said.
Manolova said that she was sure that GERB would hit out at her for choosing the issue as an attempt to attract right-wing voters.
Going by social media reactions to a video of Manolova’s statements about the Geshev issue, no one need to have waited for centrist and right-wing – non-socialist – voters to express a view on Manolova’s belated embrace of the matter.