Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on June 14 that he has vetoed amendments to the country’s Judiciary Act, passed by Parliament on June 2, specifically the provisions that split the National Investigative Service as a separate entity from the prosecutor’s office.
In his veto motives, Radev said that the service was a separate entity until 2009, when it was merged into the prosecutor’s office with the aim of achieving “efficient and transparent pre-trial investigation process.”
In passing the bill’s provisions, Parliament was effectively backsliding on commitments made by Bulgaria as part of its accession to the European Union, Radev said.
Furthermore, the same provisions, tabled between readings of the Judiciary Act amendments, had been previously part of another bill that was rejected by Parliament at first reading, Radev said.
As such, Parliament breached its own rules, which stipulate that any bill that has been voted down at first reading can only be tabled anew after changes have been made to its core provisions and no sooner than three months after its rejection, Radev’s veto motives said.
Parliament also failed to discuss the budgetary effects of the proposed split, which was passed without a costing analysis and without seeking the input of the Justice Ministry or the Supreme Judicial Council, Radev said.
Bulgaria’s constitution grants the head of state a limited power of veto, through enabling the President to return legislation to the National Assembly for further discussion. The National Assembly may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.
Since taking office in January 2017, Radev made liberal use of the power and this was his 31st vetoed bill.
The National Assembly overturned the veto on all but four occasions – three cases when the provisions in question were withdrawn and one instance where the government coalition at the time failed to muster the support needed to overturn the veto.
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