Bulgarian President Radev challenges appointment of Constitutional Court judges

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev said on January 23 that he asked the country’s Constitutional Court to rule on whether the appointment of two judges to the court by Parliament last week breached constitutional rules.

Radev said that his complaint pointed out several breaches of rules in the appointment of Dessislava Atanassova and Borislav Belazelkov, including the fact that they were appointed to nine-year terms.

Normally, that is the term of a Constitutional Court judge in Bulgaria, but Radev cited an earlier decision by the court, which ruled that when judges are elected with a delay, they will serve out the rest of the term, rather than the full nine years.

That was the case of Atanassova and Belazelkov’s appointments, with a succession of short-lived legislatures failing to fill the National Assembly’s quota of Constitutional Court judges. As a result, the duo should only have been appointed to serve until 2031, Radev said.

He also called on the court to call off the swearing in of Atanassova and Belazelkov, which had earlier been scheduled for January 26, until it rules on his complaint.

Given the lack of precedent for this situation in Bulgaria’s post-communist history, it was not immediately clear whether the ceremony would proceed as scheduled. Radev could still scupper the ceremony if it were to go ahead, by refusing to attend the ceremony – a situation for which there is a precedent in recent history.

(Roumen Radev photo: president.bg)

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