Bulgarian MPs vote to accept presidential veto on Penal Procedure Code amendments

Bulgarian Parliament voted on February 15 to revise the bill amending the country’s Penal Procedure Code, accepting the veto imposed on part of the bill by President Roumen Radev earlier this week.

Radev vetoed part of the final and transitional provisions of the bill, which included a rider amending the Judiciary Act to provide for the continued operation of the country’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

He argued that the changes put a regular law above the constitution as they, in effect, temporarily suspended the enforcement of a constitutional amendment passed last year.

Additionally, Radev vetoed the provisions in the main body of the Penal Procedure Code amendments bill, which limits the information provided to a person put under arrest, saying that this was against EU rules on the rights of persons suspected or accused in criminal proceedings.

On the motion to overturn the veto, opposition parties voted against and the three parliamentary groups backing the government abstained.

The vote in Parliament was only the fifth time that MPs accepted a veto imposed by Radev since the current head of state took office in January 2017, but the third time they did so in just over a year.

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. Parliament may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.

Radev has vetoed 35 bills in his time as head of state and his veto was overturned on all but six occasions – the five times that the veto was accepted by MPs and one instance where the government coalition at the time failed to muster the support needed to overturn it.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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