Bulgarian Parliament approved constitutional amendments

The Bulgarian parliament approved a number of constitutional amendments in the final third reading. The MPs voted by name, standing up and saying “for” or “against.”

GERB-SDS (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria—Union of Democratic Forces), PP-DB (Continuing Changes—Democratic Bulgaria), and DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) voted in favor of the amendments.

Only one PP-DB deputy abstained. The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Revival Party, voted against, Bgnes reported.

The amendments reduce the president’s influence on government appointments.

Dual citizenship is no longer an obstacle to holding public office. However, the requirement that MPs have resided in Bulgaria for the last 18 months remains.

The changes limit the powers of the Prosecutor General, requiring the election of a new Prosecutor General within three months. The High Council of the Judiciary consists of two bodies: the High Council of Prosecutors and the High Council of the Judiciary.

The changes in the Constitution are the beginning of the judicial reform, said the co-chairman of PP-DB Hristo Ivanov. In his words, with the changes in the Judiciary Act, in the procedural laws and with the personnel decisions later on, a real independence of the Bulgarian court will be achieved.

“The modern, independent prosecutor’s office and a justice system that is fair by European standards will be a fact”, Hristo Ivanov said.

Two-thirds of the parliament will have to make decisions on the election of regulators. However, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev does not support these constitutional amendments.

“Bulgarians will pay a high price for experimenting with the constitution. It is my duty as head of state to appeal the decision to the Constitutional Court,” said President Rumen Radev.

The opposition also said it would appeal the changes to the Constitutional Court.

The Bulgarian parliament passed a ban on exporting fuel produced from Russian oil in the first and second readings earlier this week. This ban was an exception to the EU ban.

Additionally, to facilitate accession to the Schengen area, the parliament abolished the tax on the transit of Russian Gazprom’s gas through its territory.

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