Bulgaria Halfway to Banning Ex Spies from Serving as Ambassadors

Bulgaria Halfway to Banning Ex Spies from Serving as Ambassadors

Bulgaria's 35 ambassadors proven to have been collaborators of the communist regime's secret service will be removed from their posts, according amendments to the Diplomatic Service Act adopted by the Parliament at first reading.

The much anticipated but still controversial "diplomatic lustration" legislation championed by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov was adopted Thursday with 92 votes in favor - cast by MPs from the ruling center-right party GERB and the rightist Blue Coalition, 21 votes against - cast by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and 13 abstaining - from the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) and the nationalist party Ataka.

The amendments initiated by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov are also designed to prohibit any collaborators - including intelligence officers and secret informers - of the so called State Security (DS), the intelligence and secret police service of the Bulgarian communist regime before 1989.

The legal amendments initiated by Mladenov are supposed to rectify the huge scandal that shook the Bulgarian government in the fall of 2010 with regards to the diplomats' lustration (i.e. limiting the participation of former communists, and especially informants of the communist secret police in the civil service). The Foreign Minister was outrage after at the end of 2010 the so-called Files Commission, the special panel examining the Communist era documentation, revealed that almost half of Bulgaria's diplomats abroad had been collaborators of the former State Security Service.

Under the provisions of the Diplomatic Service Act, the former communist secret service spies, collaborators, intelligence officers, and informers who now occupy senior diplomatic positions will be removed and appointed to other posts within the diplomatic corps.

New recruits of the Bulgarian diplomatic service will be required to submit a written confirmation that they agree to be inspected of any prior affiliation with the DS. /Source: Sofia News Agency/

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