Bulgaria Constitutional Court rules its two newest judges will serve out rest of term

Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court said on July 9 that it has ruled that its two newest judges, appointed by Parliament in January will serve out the remainder of the nine-year term rather than a full one.

The National Assembly elected Dessislava Atanassova, formerly leader of Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF parliamentary group, and Borislav Belazelkov, a former Supreme Court of Cassation judge, to fill the two positions on the court that had been vacant for more than two years.

The Parliament decisions stated that Atanassova and Belazelkov would serve full nine-year terms on the court, which were challenged both by President Roumen Radev and a group of opposition MPs.

Citing its previous practice in similar cases, the court ruled to strike out the part of the National Assembly decisions referring to nine-year terms, meaning the two judges will serve out the rest of the term, which expires in late 2030.

In addition to challenging the length of term provision, Radev asked the court should strike the appointment of the two judges altogether, arguing that the two were political appointments and did not have the necessary qualities to sit as constitutional court judges.

The Constitutional Court rejected that request, saying that it was outside its mandate to assess the qualities of appointees to any office and that the responsibility for doing so lay entirely with the appointing bodies.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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