President Roumen Radev vetoes Ivan Geshev election for Prosecutor General, Parliament launches procedure for choosing Anticorruption Commission chief

 mediapool.bg

Opinion: President Roumen Radev’s veto of Ivan Geshev election for Prosecutor General: The right move but is it enough? President Roumen Radev refused to ratify the results from the election of the only candidate for Prosecutor General, Ivan Geshev. Geshev’s nomination was announced back in July. As a protégé of the current Prosecutor General and being in charge of the Prosecutor’s Office most important cases, Geshev was expected to be nominated for the post, although he himself rejected the possibility categorically about a year ago. At the end, he not only received (and accepted without hesitation) the nomination, he had no competition for the whole process. The position of Prosecutor General is arguably the most powerful in the country, not least because the position bares key characteristics of its predecessor from the totalitarian state. The Prosecutor General is unaccountable and untouchable. The governments’ consistent refusal to reform it over the years has ultimately realized its power potential. The executive branch is almost entirely dependent on it, the legislative as well. The practical implication leading to this composition of powers is that the Prosecutor’s Office and the Prosecutor General in particular have the unlimited right to open and close criminal investigations without having to justify the decisions to anyone – a prerogative blown out of proportion from its overuse and abuse. The nomination and election procedure of a Prosecutor General is very distant from any public pressure. The members of the highest administrative body in the justice system, the Supreme Judicial Council, vote to elect a Prosecutor General. Half of the members are prosecutors (direct subordinates of the Prosecutor General), half are judges. Half of everybody are elected by Parliament. Which leaves about a fourth of the members having any chance of real distance from the majority in Parliament of the Prosecutor’s Office. Ivan Geshev was elected with 20 to 4 votes. All 20 were the prosecutors’ plus the judges appointed by Parliament as opposed to the judges’ committee. Thousands have been protesting Geshev’s nomination since the announcement. On the day of his election the area around the Supreme Justice Council was overflown with police, special forces and military police. Hundreds of people “in favor” of his nomination, most of them young black-hooded men, some teenagers, were let near the building through a special police-guarded checkpoint. Some journalists managed to get in and take interviews. Not a single one was able to provide an answer as to why they are there and demonstrated a definite lack of any understanding of the process. Geshev’s vote was on October 24. The nation-wide local elections were scheduled for October 27 and November 3. While Geshev was an important issue still, it was obvious that the subject will see a two week pause. Regulation-wise, after the Supreme Judicial ..


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