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Ivan Geshev re-elected chief prosecutor after nearly 5-hour session of Supreme Judicial Council

Ivan Geshev re-elected chief prosecutor after nearly 5-hour session of Supreme Judicial Council

14 November 2019 | 15:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. With 20 votes in favour and 4 against, the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) re-elected Ivan Geshev as Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, after President Rumen Radev rejected his candidacy on 7 November, Focus News Agency reported.
Initially, a member of the SJC Judges’College, Atanaska Disheva, proposed that the procedure be terminated but by 20 to 4 votes the magistrates decided to continue the current election procedure. Thus, Ivan Stoimenov Geshev remained the only candidate for the post and his candidacy was re-voted.
According to the constitution, the president can reject a candidacy only once. If the Supreme Judicial Council re-elects the candidate with more than 17 votes, the head of state is obliged to sign the decree for his appointment.
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Reuters: President blocks appointment of Bulgaria's next chief prosecutor

Reuters: President blocks appointment of Bulgaria's next chief prosecutor

8 November 2019 | 12:46 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. President Rumen Radev on Thursday blocked the appointment of Bulgaria's next chief prosecutor whose selection as the sole candidate for the powerful post sparked street protests, Reuters reported.

The chief prosecutor's role is key to combating graft in Bulgaria, ranked as the most corrupt member state in the European Union by the watchdog Transparency International. He or she has wide powers to launch and halt investigations.

Radev said he would not sign the documents allowing Ivan Geshev to take up the seven-year mandate from Jan. 10 and that he would ask the top judicial body that selected him, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), to review its choice.

The SJC elected Geshev, currently a deputy chief prosecutor, by 20 votes to four last month. There were no other candidates for the job and the decision prompted a series of protests amid concerns over whether Geshev would wage a genuine war on high-level corruption.

"Having only one candidate not only deprives (the procedure) of competitiveness but deprives the next chief prosecutor of prestige and legitimacy," Radev said in a statement.

The president's move is seen as largely symbolic as he can only block the appointment once. If the SJC again backs Geshev, as expected, Radev would have to rubber-stamp their decision.

Protesters had urged Radev to block Geshev's nomination saying his election was the pre-determined outcome of a deal between graft-prone political elites and local oligarchs.

Several lawyers' organisations had advised the president not to sign Geshev's appointment. But, in a letter to the European Commission, prosecutors defended Geshev's election as fair and transparent, and complained of political pressure on Radev to block the appointment.

Despite a declared political will to uproot graft, Sofia has yet to jail a single high-ranking official on corruption charges.
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Hearing of Ivan Geshev for post of chief prosecutor continues

Hearing of Ivan Geshev for post of chief prosecutor continues

24 October 2019 | 12:51 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. The hearing of Ivan Geshev for the post of prosecutor general has been going on for almost an hour, a Focus News Agency reporter said. The Plenary Session of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) began at 10:00 am. The plenary was presented with reports of the Attestation and Competition Committee of the SJC Prosecutorial Chamber and the SJC Professional Ethics Committee, as well as with the reasons for Geshev's nomination by the Prosecutorial Chamber. The hearing of Geshev began shortly after 10:30 am. In the course of his presentation, the candidate presented his concept of governance of the office. He then answered questions from non-governmental organisations and civic associations.
The procedure for election of prosecutor general was opened on 15 July 2019. Ivan Geshev was proposed by the members of the SJC Prosecutorial Chamber. No other proposals for the post have been made. Under the Judiciary Act, no less than three members of the relevant chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council and the minister of justice could make such proposals.
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