site.btaUPDATED Parliament Debates Counter-Corruption Bill on Second Reading
At an extraordinary plenary sitting on Wednesday, Bulgaria's Parliament proceeded with Tuesday's second-reading debate on a Counter-Corruption Bill tabled by GERB-UDF Floor Leader Desislava Atanasova and a group of MPs.
The bill establishes an Anti-Corruption Commission of three members who will be elected for a six-year term by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority. Each of the members will rotate as chair of the Commission for a two-year period. Eligibility for membership will be limited to persons holding a university degree in law or economics and having at least seven years' relevant experience or seven years' experience in the security services.
Candidates for members of the Commission will be selected by a special nomination committee consisting of five independent members, one each rendered up by the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Bar Council, the Ministry of Justice, the National Ombudsman, and the Bulgarian National Audit Office. On a motion by GERB-UDF, the MPs resolved that instead of a recommended ranking, the nomination committee would make a recommended evaluation of the candidates.
In line of duty, the authorities of the Anti-Corruption Commission will be able to use physical force and auxiliary means only in the event of absolute necessity, under the terms and according to the procedure established by the Ministry of Interior Act.
A specialized Directorate for Counter-Corruption at the Anti-Corruption Commission will detect and investigate public office holders suspected of committing corruption.
The majority voted down a motion by There Is Such a People to insert provisions according to which public office holders may not accept gifts.
The legislature failed to pass conclusively the entire bill even though the plenary sitting was extended twice.