Bulgaria Constitutional Court strikes down appointment of utilities regulator chief

Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court ruled on July 21 that the appointment of Stanislav Todorov as the head of the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) was unconstitutional.

Parliament appointed Todorov on February 9. At the time, the largest opposition party, GERB-SDS, argued that Todorov did not meet the legal requirements for the position, given that his nomination was made before MPs passed amendments to the Energy Act that lowered the previous experience in the energy sector threshold.

It lodged a formal complaint with the Constitutional Court, which in its ruling agreed that the appointment breached the principle of legal certainty.

The court ruling said that the amended Energy Act went into effect a day after the deadline for submitting the nominations for the head of EWRC.

As the proceedings to amend the law and appoint the new EWRC head ran in parallel, Parliament should have either stipulated that the appointment process would continue under the old requirements or scrapped the process and restart it under the new rules, the court said.

In failing to include such a provision, Parliament “infringed in an unconstitutional manner the legal expectations of the subjects so that the appointment process could progress in a predictable and lawful way,” the court said.

Reacting to the court’s decision, Todorov said that the regulator’s decisions on price changes since he became head of the EWRC could not be challenged because they were taken unanimously and his vote was not the decisive one, Bulgarian National Television reported.

Todorov called on Parliament to immediately start the proceedings to appoint his replacement.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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