MAGISTRATES' IMMUNITIES MIGHT BE LIFTED
Ognyan Gerdjikov, Chairman of the 39th National Assembly, to the BANKER weeklyMr. Gerdjikov, which are the legislative priorities in the work of the Parliament for the next few months?- In the coming days we'll finally approve the Privatisation and Post-privatisation Control Act. This draft has caused serious difficulties, because it is aimed to change the philosophy of the effective legislation in this sphere. Our purpose is to eliminate the possibility for making decisions, influenced by non-economic factors. The new bill is primarily aimed at ensuring maximum transparency in the selling procedure. Concurrently, our efforts are focused on the draft bills, regarding Bulgaria's commitments to the European Union.Laws, connected with the judiciary, are also among our priorities. A package of bills has been drafted and is already on my desk: the drafts of the Judiciary Bill, the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedures Code, and the Execution of Punishment Bill. These exceptionally important bills will soon be moved to the Parliamentary Legal Commission, and I hope they'll be discussed at plenary sessions in the comining months.Does the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII) plan a debate on lifting the immunities of magistrates, which combined with their irremovability, provide serious grounds for corruption.- We should convince the public of the necessity to undertake such amendments to the Constitution. When the NMSII assumed power we initially believed that we should not make haste to change the Constitution. The true merit of any constitution is its stability. However, it turned out there are stipulations in it, which are rather a hindrance, and this is one of them. The magistrates' immunities and irremovability has created a sense of irresponsibility and intangibility in some of them, which is harmful to both the judiciary system and the State. Therefore, the possibility of initiating such a debate in the near future should not be ruled out.You say there shouldn't be much haste in the law-making process, but there are alarming signals from the European Union (EU) about a delay due to which Bulgaria is missing a lot of deadlines.- The EU has no reasons for such warries because the European countries themselves do not make haste when amending their laws. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, for example, the bills are drafted for years. As compared to them we became champions in terms of speed, but not in terms of quality regarding the process of law-making. The two categories cannot be combined. There might be good and bad bills among the carefully drafted, but those drafted hastily are always bad.How would you appraise the Government?- A lot of people in the Cabinet are doing excellent work. Lack of experience can be seen here and there, but some ministers are dedicated to their work and many of them have achieved very good results. However, I would admonish individual ministers and their ministries. The low quality of draft bills is a weak point and I'm resolved to soon find a way to show my dissatisfaction with a large number of the bills. It is very important to have good-quality bills in order to pass good-quality laws. It is normal for any government to have its failures and problems, but I think the Cabinet is doing well its work as a whole.