Bulgarian parliament approves bill restricting president’s powers

Balkans
Fri, 22 Dec 2023 7:50 GMT
President Rumen Radev claims changes coincided with ruling parties' interests rather than supporting democratic values.
Bulgarian parliament approves bill restricting president’s powers

President Rumen Radev claims changes coincided with ruling parties' interests rather than supporting democratic values.

The Bulgarian parliament adopted a bill Wednesday that restricts the powers of President Rumen Radev

The pro-Western ruling We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria (PP–DB), and Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), along with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), a Turkish minority party, backed the constitutional amendment after a third and final reading.

The bill was approved in a 165 - 71 vote in the 240-seat parliament, according to the Novinite news portal.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Resurrection Party (Vazrazhdane), and There is Such a People (ITN) parties voted against it.

Radev argued that the changes do not address fundamental problems in the judiciary, potentially weakening Bulgaria's commitment to fair governance.

He claimed that the changes coincided with the ruling parties' interests rather than supporting democratic values.

The law aims to make significant reforms in the judicial system, restrict the powers of the president and democratize the election process of members of regulatory and supervisory institutions.

According to the draft law that limits the president's authority to form an interim government, the interim prime minister will be elected from a certain pool of candidates, excluding the president of the Supreme Court.

The pool of potential interim prime ministers will include candidates such as the speaker of the National Assembly, the president or deputy president of the National Bank of Bulgaria, president or deputy president of the Court of Accounts and ombudsman or deputy ombudsman.

With another important change, Bulgarian citizens with dual citizenship will be allowed to become members of parliament if they reside in the country for 18 months.

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