Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on October 29 that he signed a decree appointing caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov as a judge in the Constitutional Court.
Stoilov will be replaced as justice minister in the caretaker Cabinet by Ivan Demerdjiev, who was previously caretaker deputy justice minister. Demerdjiev has two decades experience as a lawyer and was previously head of the Plovdiv bar association.
In making the announcement, Radev said that “Yanaki Stoilov’s authority as a lawyer is indisputable and I believe that this will be the crowning moment of a worthy career.”
A lecturer in law at Kliment Ohridski Sofia University and Paisii Hilendarski Plovdiv University, Stoilov was elected to Parliament eight times, including to the Grand National Assembly in 1990, which drafted the current Bulgarian constitution.
Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court has 12 sitting judges, appointed for nine-year terms, without an option for a second one. They are appointed by all three branches of government – four by Parliament, four by the president and four by the joint assembly of the judges in the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court.
Every three years, four judges are replaced – this year, this includes two judges appointed by Parliament, one elected by their fellow judges and one appointed by the president.
Stoilov will replace Boris Velchev, who was Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general between 2006 and 2012. Velchev has been the head of the Constitutional Court since 2018.
Stoilov was also nominated for a position on the court by his socialist party in 2018, to fill the vacancy among Parliament-appointed judges, but withdrew from consideration saying that the outcome of the race had been decided by the governing majority in the National Assembly at the time.
As regards the other three appointments to the court, the judges in Bulgaria’s two high courts have until mid-November to elect their appointee.
The appointments by the National Assembly will have to be delayed given that Bulgaria has no sitting Parliament and will hold parliamentary elections on November 14.
(Yanaki Stoilov as socialist MP in Parliament in June 2015. Photo: bsp.bg)
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