Bulgaria’s Parliament amends law on naming communist-era agents

Bulgaria’s Parliament approved on June 1 the second reading of amendments, tabled by the Democratic Bulgaria coalition, providing for the identities of those who worked for communist-era State Security to be disclosed each time a check is carried out.

Bulgarian law empowers the Dossier Commission to check people in various walks of public life – politics, the media, business associations, unions, religious leaders and polling agencies among them – for affiliation to State Security or the communist-era Bulgarian People’s Army.

Over the years, some have been disclosed numerous times, for example each time they are candidates for election to Parliament or municipal councils.

Democratic Bulgaria’s amendments were tabled in response to an interpretative decision by the Supreme Administrative Court which said that the Dossier Commission had the right to disclose agents only the first time a check was done.

“We need to know, if there are dependencies today, created in the past, how they have developed since then and make our assessment as citizens in a democratic society,” Democratic Bulgaria MP Atanas Slavov said.

“We owe at least this to Bulgarian society – to break the dependencies on the past,” Slavov said.

In support of the amendments, Democratic Bulgaria cited a Constitutional Court ruling in 2012 that said that the legislation conferred on the public the right to make an informed choice by knowing that people had worked for State Security.

Bulgaria’s constitution does not allow lustration, meaning that disclosure of affiliation to State Security or the Bulgarian People’s Army military intelligence is no bar to elected public office.

(Photo: Nenko Lazarov)

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