The Constitution is undoubtedly a pillar of stability, a guarantor of security and predictability in the lives of Bulgarian citizens, the President of Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva stated at the opening of the conference “25th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria in the light of the rule of law, democracy and protection of fundamental rights”.
In 1991, the adoption of the Constitution was an expression of the determination to build a democratic, social state based on the rule of law; today, 25 years after that event, we are still unable to state to what extent we have achieved that goal, but we could seek an answer to the question whether we are going in the right direction, noted the President of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva.
The President of Parliament added that certainly the Constitution of 1991 was of key importance for the building and establishment of the existing model of state structure and state governance we had today. It is a symbol of a new beginning and of deep changes in the society after 1989 – 1990.
According to the President of Parliament, the Constitution provides new opportunities for upholding the values of democracy, respect of human rights and their protection and equal participation in international relations. For the first time it expressly sets out the immediate effect of constitutional provisions whereby the Constitution is legitimized as the supreme law. Essential are also the possibilities it provides for civil society control and justice of the laws, Tsetska Tsacheva noted.
Although the Constitution is a sound basis to ensure justice and although it contains the principles and values that ensure the citizens the opportunity to live in a country respecting the rule of law, another, not less important issue proved significant – the issue of the enforcement of the Constitution and the laws of the country, noted the President of Parliament. In her words, poor laws or their improper enforcement often result in controversial, frequently critical assessments of the Constitution itself.
According to the President of Parliament, the assessment of the effective Constitution should be given by the experts in constitutional law, the analysts of political and economic processes in Bulgaria, and last but not least, by citizens. The latter can state whether its principles have been reflected in our day, Tsetska Tsacheva added. In her words, everybody and the legal practitioners in particular should ask themselves what responsibility they have to turn the Bulgarian Constitution from a formal act with symbolic meaning into a true guarantor of democratic and just governance, for true respect of the rights and freedoms of Bulgarian citizens.
In the conditions of dynamic legislative changes, provoked by reforms in all fields, the Constitution undoubtedly remains a pillar of stability, a guarantor of security and predictability in the lives of Bulgarian citizens, the President of Parliament said. At the same time, though stable, it is not a fixed frame. Changes in it over the past 25 years are mainly related to a specific reform – the reform in the judiciary. The National Assembly recognizes its responsibility because an essential part of the judiciary reform requires legislative changes, and this has been the main topic of legislative work in 3 plenary sessions of the 43rd National Assembly, Tsetska Tsacheva noted. She referred to one of the conclusions of the Conference of the Ministers of Justice, held under the auspices of the Council of Europe in Sofia in the spring, namely that independence of the judiciary means also a state of mind of magistrates.
The President of Parliament pointed out that we could not fail to note today that the Constitution had undoubtedly made a serious breakthrough in Bulgaria’s development.
“The historians and constitutional experts will give their assessment of the role and importance of the Constitution of 1991, but we must give the credit to our fundamental law for the chance it gave Bulgaria to embark on a new road – the road we are pursuing now. A road which brought back our country to the heart of democratic Europe, where Bulgaria has always had its reserved place“, Tsetska Tsacheva added.
The forum is held under the auspices of the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, jointly with Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and New Bulgarian University.
The conference was attended by deputies and representatives of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Bar Council, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ombudsman Maya Manolova and teachers from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and New Bulgarian University. On 12 July 2016, the day of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution by the Grand National Assembly, the conference will continue in Sofia University.