MPs of the largest Bulgarian party, GERB will vote “against” all requests to remove parliamentary immunities until the judicial reform bill is passed, effectively boycotting the prosecutor’s office, the party said after the prosecutor’s office filed a request to lift the immunity of former energy minister and current GERB MP Delyan Dobrev.
Two years ago, a criminal case was brought against Dobrev for his actions as a minister in connection with the construction project of the second Bulgarian nuclear power plant, “Belene”, in 2014. In 2021, however, the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence.
However, on Tuesday, the prosecution requested the removal of Dobrev’s parliamentary immunity due to the case, and GERB responded by saying it will block all of the prosecution’s future requests.
For two weeks, Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev and GERB have been in conflict because the party surprisingly supported demands for his resignation and announced that it would support judicial reform.
The main goal of the reform is to introduce a mechanism for the independent investigation of the chief prosecutor, which currently does not exist in Bulgaria.
The reform has been requested for years by the European Commission and the Council of Europe, which have repeatedly pointed out to the Bulgarian authorities the problem of the inviolability of the chief prosecutor and the lack of results in the fight against corruption. After the publication of the request to remove the immunity of Delyan Dobrev, GERB accused the prosecution of trying to influence the parliament’s decisions on judicial reform by using criminal cases as pressure.
“The prosecutor’s office is a repressive body. They pressured us, and those who did not give in raised a case against us. This case (for the “Belene” project) stayed in someone’s drawer for nine years. The prosecutor’s office is a repressive body, and it must be cleared because otherwise, we politicians will be subordinate to the prosecutors,” Dobrev commented.
GERB’s justified the boycott, saying “Today it is Delyan (Dobrev), tomorrow it may be Kiril (Petkov)”.
Next week, the Bulgarian parliament is expected to vote on a government formed by the second largest party “The Change Continues – Democratic Bulgaria” (PP-DB) and supported by GERB.
One of the leaders of the PP-DB, Kiril Petkov, who was the country’s prime minister in the first half of 2022, admitted that there was a serious problem with the prosecutor’s office.
He called for Dobrev’s case to be investigated by a parliamentary committee, following the procedure in the European Parliament.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)
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