Ivan Geshev was sworn in as Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general on December 18 in a ceremony brought forward by three weeks after his predecessor Sotir Tsatsarov stepped down early in order to take the job as the new head of the Commission for Combating Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property, the government’s anti-corruption body.
Geshev, who was lead prosecutor in several high-profile cases, most notably the trial on the collapse of Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), has risen quickly through the ranks in recent years, reaching the position of deputy prosecutor-general.
That, coupled with the fact that he was the only nominee for the job and received very public support from prosecutor offices throughout the country, has prompted critics to level accusations that he was hand-picked as the next prosecutor-general by Tsatsarov and the current majority in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which has a track record of voting for Tsatsarov’s suggestions.
The lack of other nominees for the job prompted President Roumen Radev to decline signing the appointment decree at the first time of asking, sending the pick back to the SJC, which promptly voted to confirm its earlier decision.
As required by law, Radev made the appointment after the re-vote, but said that he would start a “wide public debate” on the prosecutor’s office functions, structure and place in the judicial system.
In their first statements after the ceremony, both Geshev and his predecessor spoke against any attempts to remove the prosecutor’s office from the judiciary branch, arguing that a transfer to the executive branch would make it more susceptible to political influence.
(Ivan Geshev, right, with his predecessor Sotir Tsatsarov during the swearing-in ceremony on December 18. Photo: prb.bg)