site.btaJustice Minister Discusses Proposed Constitutional Reform with Venice Commission Rapporteurs
Justice Minister Atanas Slavov discussed the proposed amendments to the Bulgarian Constitution with Venice Commission rapporteurs. Their visit to Sofia is part of the procedure for collecting views on the forthcoming changes to the basic law while building the commission's opinion, Slavov's ministry reported here on Thursday.
Minister Slavov outlined the three main areas in the proposed draft: reform of the judiciary, strengthening parliamentarism by changing the status of caretaker governments and the introduction of individual constitutional appeal.
The proposed changes in the area of the judiciary are aimed at fulfilling the long-standing recommendations to ensure the independence of the courts, reduce the power of the prosecutor general and ensure control and accountability of the prosecution, Slavov stressed. He explained that the independence of the judiciary is achieved by forming a separate Supreme Judicial Council dominated by members elected by the judicial community.
At the same time, the majority for the future separate Prosecutorial Council will be provided by the public quota elected by the National Assembly, eliminating the current Soviet-style hierarchical structure in which the Prosecutor General stands supreme at the top of the pyramid. The issue of the number and duration of the terms of office of the Presidents of the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor General was raised, as was the format of the general inspectorate of the judiciary.
One of the main topics in the talks was the status of caretaker governments, the strengthening of the role of parliament and the smooth transition of power in a period of instability and frequent parliamentary elections. The scope and mechanism of the individual constitutional appeal was also discussed.
The European Commission for Democracy through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, is a constitutional law advisory body to the Council of Europe. The opinion on the draft amendments to the Bulgarian Constitution is expected to be adopted at the session on October 6-7.