Bulgaria’s SJC halts proceedings to elect new prosecutor-general

Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) voted on July 6 to end the process of electing a new prosecutor-general to replace Ivan Geshev, who was dismissed half-way through his seven-year term.

The formal reason for the council to do so was the Constitutional Court complaint filed by Geshev against Judiciary Act amendments that lowered the threshold for dismissing the prosecutor-general from 17 members of the SJC to 13. Geshev was sacked with 16 votes in favour on June 12.

Additionally, there has been public pushback against the current line-up of the SJC electing a new prosecutor-general, including in Parliament, where a draft motion had been tabled to call on the council to suspend such proceedings.

The current SJC has been criticised for electing Geshev despite concerns voiced about his suitability for the job and had twice rebuffed attempts by caretaker justice ministers, in 2021 and 2022, to dismiss Geshev before its about-face last month.

There were also voices opposed to the current council electing the next prosecutor-general because its term expired last year and it has remained in office because the short-lived 48th National Assembly did not appoint new members of the SJC.

The current Parliament, elected in April, is in no rush to do so either, as a number of parties in the 49th National Assembly are in talks regarding constitutional amendments that would change how the SJC is appointed and functions.

Previously, the SJC defended its decision to open the proceedings to elect a new prosecutor-general with the legal deadlines for this process, set out in the Judiciary Act.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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