Bulgarian Socialists, Diplomatic NGOs All Up in Arms against 'Diplomatic Lustration Law'

Bulgarian Socialists, Diplomatic NGOs All Up in Arms against 'Diplomatic Lustration Law'

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party backed by several diplomatic NGOs have risen vehemently against the recently adopted legislation for banning collaborators of the former communist regime's secret service from serving as ambassadors.

The amendments to Bulgaria's Diplomatic Service Act were adopted at first reading on June 23, 2011. Once they are adopted at second reading, Bulgaria's 35 ambassadors proven to have been collaborators of the communist regime's secret service will be removed from their posts.

The much anticipated but still controversial "diplomatic lustration" legislation championed by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov was adopted with the votes of MPs from the ruling center-right party GERB and the rightist Blue Coalition, while the opposition the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was firmly against it; the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) and the nationalist party Ataka abstained during the vote.

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.

At the beginning of May 2011, 13 out of the 35 ambassadors with communist secret service records were returned to Bulgaria for an indefinite consultation period, with the remaining ones to be recalled in June.

However, according to the Constitution, Bulgaria's Ambassadors can only be recalled by the President. President Georgi Parvanov refused to sign the decrees for the diplomats' dismissal.

The amendments to the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service Act will enter into force after the Parliament adopts at a second reading./Source: Sofia News Agency/

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