Not so long ago a respected teacher in law (prof. Daniel Valchev) said that the Bulgarian MPs are in such a hurry to propose legislation, that they climb like a ‘wild goat on a hill’.
Several days ago, another respected law professor and a recent interim prime minister (prof. Ognyan Gerdjikov) mentioned, that Bulgaria must hold the world records of fast adoption of legislation and legislation volume.
I think that nowadays the legislator is in a hurry to submit codes and laws like a puppy in front of its mother. ‘The mother’ is the party ‘mother’ or ‘father’, who issues an order from a head office, and it is clear who ‘the puppies’ are – willing to kill themselves in a hurry to submit a bill (in this case the bill amending the Election Code), so that they can please their ‘father’ or ‘mother’.
The fact, that they are breaking legal rules and principles of the legislation is of no importance.
The fact, that they are evading the legal norms that the rule of law and the democracy are trampled upon is meaningless.
After many years of transition, mostly in mentality and consciousness, Bulgarians are now used to slow down and stop at the zebra walkway on the streets. It is what the law requires and the rules must be obeyed. Stopping at a red traffic light is much more different, because it is related to the human self-preservation instinct, and crossing at a red light might sometimes cost the life of the violator.
With their first legislative actions, the new MPs are not only refusing to give way at the zebra but are also not stopping at the red traffic light.
The giving of way at the zebra walkway may be compared to the public consultations. The stopping at the red traffic light might be represented as the mandatory ex-ante regulatory impact assessment – partial or full, which if positive gives green light to the bill.
For bills like the one amending the Election Code, which will clearly bring radical changes to the national election system, leading to a radical change in the political representation of the people, in the state and its government as a whole, a simple giving a way at the zebra and stopping at the red traffic light is not enough. Dozens of complex crossroads with many traffic lights should be successfully passed. This means conducting public consultations of several months with the widest possible pool of stakeholders, making series of representative sociological studies, conducting analyses using nationally recognized experts in the field of law, political sciences, electoral systems and so on, in order to find the most appropriate regulatory option. All of this is called full ex-ante regulatory impact assessment.
Both public consultations and ex-ante regulatory impact assessment are mandatory, according to the Law on Normative Acts from the end of 2016:
Article 18a. (New – SG No. 34/2016 effective as of 4.11.2016) In the process of legal drafting ex ante impact assessment and public consultations with citizens and legal entities are carried out …
The Bill for Amendment of the Election Code submitted on 10.05.2017 by MPs from GERB does not fulfill any of the above requirements. A public consultation of at least 30 days has not been conducted. The attached ex-ante impact assessment consists of 1 page and includes 1 sentence for every of the 5 bullets from the methodology of the National Assembly for ex ante impact assessment. For us, this assessment is an insult to the averagely intelligent and thinking part of Bulgarian society.
Henceforth, the Chairman of the National Assembly must not distribute this bill to the parliamentary committees rather return it to submitters with instructions to remove the listed irregularities. We strongly hope that this will happen, although we have reasons to doubt it, because we have a deja vu from the 43rd National Assembly, when, on the same occasion, we wrote letters to the then Chairman in relation to almost identical bill, we also wrote in the media, but no result…
We cannot understand, we are bewildered and simply can’t make out why the MPs do not respect the laws they adopted themselves. Why does the new National Assembly begin its activity with a rude, open and shameless evading of the law. There are no arguments about referendums, ombudsmen, and talk show hosts here. The will of the people is to introduce the majority system, but they’ve never said that this should happen by violating all new norms and principles in the Bulgarian rulemaking, introduced by the amendments to the Law on Normative Acts from the end of 2016. They did not want this to happen rashly, hastily, without enough data and evidence, and with no scientific expertise.
There is a law, and it must be strictly observed by all, but by the MPs in particular.
The opposite means rulemaking like passing a crossroad with a rushing speed at a red traffic light, and whatever happens, if we survive would be good …