The amendments to the constitution aiming to reform the judiciary in Bulgaria, tabled by Tsetska Tsacheva and a group of parliamentary members, were adopted by the National Assembly at first reading. The changes passed with the votes of 184 deputies, 34 voted against and 8 abstained.
The second reading of the bill foresees reading and voting of the amendments text by text. Each text will pass at second reading if adopted by the votes of 180 deputies.
The motives of the bill for amendments to the constitution explain its purpose as one to carry on the structural and organizational reform of the judiciary in Bulgaria so as to get in line with the international standards and in order to overcome the existing deficiencies in the constitutional democracy. The amendments target Chapter Six of the Constitution, “The Judiciary” and Chapter Eight, “Constitutional Court”.
Envisaged are changes in the structure and organization of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). It has to divide into two bodies – the college of judges and the college of prosecutors. The college of judges will consist of 13 members and will include the chairpersons of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administration Court. 6 members of the college of judges will be elected by the General Assembly of Judges, 5 by the National Assembly. The prosecutors’ college will comprise 12 members to include the Prosecutor General; 4 prosecutors will be elected by the Prosecutors’ General Assembly, 1 will be elected by the General Assembly of Investigators and 6 by the National Assembly.
The bill foresees independent decision making by the colleges as far as organizational and personnel matters, imposition of disciplinary punishments and opinions on draft laws in their competency. On matters concerning the judicial system as a whole, like the budget of the judicial system for example, decisions are to be made at a meeting of all members of the two colleges.