Bulgaria's Constitutional Court pronounced unconstitutional a refusal of the National Assembly to approve the resignation of GERB MP Delyan Dobrev, the Court said in a press release on Tuesday.
Dobrev resigned his seat on October 3, 2017 in the wake of a nepotism scandal in his home town of Haskovo, fanned out by the opposition Socialist Party. Investigative journalist and Socialist MP Elena Yoncheva revealed that some of Dobrev's friends and relatives had been appointed to local and central government positions without competition, which in turn had allegedly led to corruption and had influenced the outcome of public procurement awards at municipal level
On October 4, Parliament voted, 97-99 with 19 abstentions, to reject Dobrev's resignation, setting a precedent in this respect. The Socialists then took the matter to the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court decision was signed with a dissenting opinion by judges Keti Markova, Anastas Anastassov, Grozdan Iliev and Filip Dimitrov. Markova and Anastassov argued that the petition is admissible but, considered on the merits, is unfounded. According to Iliev and Dimitrov, the petition is inadmissible. Seven judges voted in favour. Eleven members of the Court were present at the session.
On December 22, 2017, Dobrev withdrew his resignation. The Constitutional Court did not consider this fact, noting that these are legal relations between the MP and the National Assembly and that the instant decision does not concern Dobrev's MP status. The decision is in effect ex nunc, and since a resignation is no longer tendered, the court cannot pronounce on it.