Bulgaria Constitutional Court rules against parliamentary limits on executive branch

Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court said on September 28 that the country’s National Assembly could not impose limits on the powers of the executive branch of government.

The unanimous ruling comes after a complaint was lodged in April by MPs from former Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s party GERB, which asked the court to declare a Parliament motion unconstitutional and sought a binding interpretation of the constitution.

The motion in question, passed by the National Assembly on April 21, imposed a moratorium on signing concession contracts or setting concession fees, issuing new government debt, appointments in the state administration, as well as any deals involving state property.

Parliament’s decision only applied to the Borissov Cabinet, which at that point had its resignation accepted by the National Assembly, but remained in office in acting capacity for the duration of the constitutional procedure to form a new Cabinet following the April 4 parliamentary elections.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court said that such an acting government was a “constant element of the constitutional state, which exists due to the principle of uninterrupted governance” and a parliamentary decision limiting part of said government’s remit was a “direct denial” of that principle.

But the court said that it could not declare the parliamentary motion unconstitutional due to the fact that the moratorium was no longer in place, given that a caretaker Cabinet was appointed on May 12, and the court’s decisions only applied from the point in time that the ruling was issued.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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