The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee has joined an appeal to the Members of Parliament from civil organizations.

BHC joined the Appeal to Members of Parliament from civil organizations regarding the upcoming procedures for the election of authorities with expired mandates on January 9, 2024.

The appeal is also supported by the following organizations: Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives, Anti-Corruption Fund, Association of European Journalists - Bulgaria, Bulgarian Lawyers for Human Rights, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Bulgarian Center for Non-Profit Law, Institute for Market Economics, Institute for Public Environment Development, Center for Liberal Strategies, and the Center for Assessment of the Impact of Legislation.

It calls on the National Assembly to:

  • Immediately initiate procedures for the election of authorities with expired mandates to overcome the institutional crisis;
  • Adopt a timeframe for initiating procedures, starting with the authorities and members of the authorities who have been out of the statutory mandate for the longest period, unless otherwise provided by law;
  • Publish an updated schedule of mandates for members of individual and collective bodies;
  • Strictly adhere to the principles of publicity, transparency, objectivity, equal treatment, predictability in the election, accountability of the appointing authority, professionalism, and competitiveness, implementing practical changes in the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria from December 2023;
  • Organize the election procedures within a reasonable period (a minimum of 3 months from nomination to election) to allow professional communities, media, and civil society sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the proposed nominations and their concepts;
  • Conduct an analysis of the sector for which the respective authority has powers in regulation, management, sanctioning, licensing, supervision, etc.;
  • Analyze the annual reports of the authority;
  • Introduce a mandatory requirement for nominated candidates to submit a written and public concept for the management of the authority;
  • Conduct a thorough check of the professional and ethical qualities of the candidates, including through obtaining information from other institutions and organizations;
  • Adopt a proactive approach to ensuring authentic competition by involving professional organizations to nominate candidates directly;
  • Establish a permanent parliamentary Commission for the election of authorities, which will organize the election procedures and hold joint sessions with the relevant committee(s) to hear the candidates; a consultative civil board should be created for the Election Commission to provide an opinion on the professional and ethical qualities of the nominated candidates;
  • Consider the possibility for media, civil organizations, and representatives of the academic community to submit written and oral questions during the hearing of the candidates.

The full text of the letter can be found here.