Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General refuses to step down, claims political interference

Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev said on May 15 that he would not give in to pressure and resign, accusing politicians of interfering in the work of the prosecutor’s office.

Geshev demonstratively tore up what he said was his resignation letter during a news conference and repeatedly said that he intends to remain in office for the full seven-year term. He was sworn in as prosecutor-general in December 2019.

A motion to dismiss Geshev as Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General was tabled in Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) last week, but he claimed that the signatories had been pressured into doing so.

The SJC previously twice rejected motions to sack Geshev, tabled by justice ministers in separate governments, but the latest motion comes amid widespread political support for Geshev to be sacked.

Geshev himself repeatedly alluded that former prime minister Boiko Borissov was behind the political pressure to oust him from office, saying that the “media campaign” against him started after he refused to step down in exchange for being appointed as an ambassador.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, Borissov denied the accusations, saying that he was not in a position to offer ambassadorial postings and questioned why Geshev was focusing on Borissov’s party, GERB, in his criticism.

Geshev also accused one of his deputies, Borislav Sarafov, who had distanced himself from the prosecutor-general in the past week, as one of the main drivers of the attempt to oust Geshev from office.

He said that he expected Sarafov to tender his resignation as head of the National Investigation Service, which makes him deputy prosecutor-general ex officio, otherwise Geshev would table a motion for his dismissal at the SJC.

(Ivan Geshev tearing up his purported resignation letter in front of the media on May 15. Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)

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