Bulgarian MPs with former spy links banned from key posts

SOFIA - The Bulgarian parliament voted on Wednesday to ban deputies with former links to the communist-era secret services from key posts in the legislature.
Under the new regulations, anyone who worked for or collaborated with the secret services will not be allowed to serve as parliamentary speaker, deputy speaker or head of a parliamentary committee.
These deputies will also be barred from joining any Bulgarian delegations travelling abroad.

A total of 146 lawmakers supported the ban while 32 deputies, mainly from the Socialist and Turkish minority MRF parties, rejected it for "not complying with the constitution."
According to a parliamentary committee in charge of opening secret services archives, nine lawmakers in the newly formed parliament -- five from the MRF and four from the centre-right GERB party, which won the July 5 election -- collaborated with the notorious Darzhavna Sigurnost.
Bulgaria, one of Moscow's most faithful Soviet-era satellites, passed a series of laws after 1989 calling for the names of public figures who worked for the secret services before their dissolution in 1991 to be published on the Internet.
But the laws did not recommend any legal consequences.
Meanwhile, a 1992 attempt to ban former agents from taking up top jobs at Bulgaria's Academy of Science and in universities was annulled by the constitutional court in 1995 as "discriminatory."
According to lists published by the parliamentary committee examining the archives, one in six government members in the country's post-communist governments was an agent or collaborator of the secret services.
President Georgy Parvanov was also listed as a collaborator, a claim he has denied.
The committee also made public Wednesday the names of 26 high-ranking central bank officials, including three governors, who had collaborated with the services.

Thursday, July 23rd 2009

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