Protests During Bulgarian Prosecutor Elections

A second unsuccessful attempt to elect an appellate prosecutor on Thursday was accompanied by  20 members of the Bulgarian Anti-mafia Movement who picketed outside of the Central Court building in the capital city of Sofia. The protesters carried signs accusing the prosecutors of property fraud and ties with the mafia.

Sofia’s appellate prosecutor is elected by Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (VSS). In November, the VSS was split over candidates, and no candidate got the required 13 votes to win.

The three candidates are the current Deputy Appellate Prosecutors for Sofia, Galina Stoyanova and Yordan Stoev, who received ten votes and the current Deputy City Prosecutor Bozhidar Dzambazov, who also received ten votes.

Dzhambazov became known for prosecuting former Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev, the head of the Sofia heating utility Valentin Dimitrov and the notorious Bulgarian mobster Petar “Amigosa” Petrov.

During the vote Nestor Nestorov, a member of the VSS, reminded the council of Dzambazov's connection to a 2006 scandal. Dzambazov's name was allegedly found in a notebook belonging to a man charged with distribution of child pornography. Dzambazov admitted knowing the man through mutual friends, but denied any involvement in child pornography.

Nestorov himself is connected to several scandals, including a high-profile antiques smuggling case, and investigations into his unaccounted wealth. In addition, the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives (BiLI) sent a letter to the Bulgarian Parliament in 2011, stating that due to his numerous disciplinary penalties, Nestorov should not qualify for the VSS.