Bulgaria’s PM: Powers of president should be reformulated to restore separation of powers

The powers of the president should be reformulated to restore the principle of the separation of powers, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on September 1.

Speaking as the National Assembly held its first sitting after its summer recess, Denkov said that the heart of the problem was the “abuse of power” by President Roumen Radev.

Denkov pointed to the purges in the state administration carried out by the caretaker governments that Radev had appointed. The current government says that about 7000 people were removed in this way.

“The question is how to organise matters so there will be no opportunity for such abuse,” Denkov said.

This could be done through a change to the constitution, amending laws, or if the presidential institution realises that through the caretaker governments it has violated the separation of powers, that it has seized power, he said.

The most recent clash came after the pro-Western government elected in June sought, in August, the removal of Petar Todorov as chief secretary of the Interior Ministry, a post to which Todorov was appointed by Radev in August 2021.

Radev refused to decree Todorov’s dismissal, claiming that the government’s request was politically motivated, and the situation was resolved only when Todorov submitted his resignation.

Denkov denied having political motives in seeking the release of Todorov and confirmed that the government would propose his deputy Zhivko Kotsev as chief secretary of the Interior Ministry.

The We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition, one of the two largest parliamentary groups that voted the Denkov government into office, is planning legislative changes to deprive the head of state of having the last word on the appointments of the heads of security and intelligence services.

Earlier this week, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria’s Yavor Bozhankov said that he intended tabling legislation to remove the president’s power in procedures for appointments to, among several others, the security services, central bank and the Council for Electronic Media. The WCC-MP said: “If we don’t want Russian influence in state bodies, we must act in an institutional and principled way”.

In August, Radev, in one of his continuing succession of bitter verbal attacks on the government, said that those in power were suffering from “power bulimia”. Denkov responded on September 1 that it was the presidential institution that was suffering from this.

(Photo of Denkov: government.bg)

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