Composition
The Constitutional Court is composed of twelve judges One third is elected by the National Assembly; one third is appointed by the President and one third is elected by the General Assembly of the judges of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court. The Constitutional Court thus formed elects a Chairman of the Court with a three-year term of office. The Chairman may be reelected. Eligible for membership at the Constitutional Court are Bulgarian citizens with no other citizenship who meet the requirements of Art. 147 para 3 of the Constitution, viz. being lawyers of high professional and moral integrity and with at least fifteen years of professional experience. The justices are not subject to an age restriction. The justices of the Constitutional Court are elected or appointed for a period of nine years and are not eligible for re-election or re-appointment. The members of the Constitutional Court are renewed every three years from each quota. During the first term, lots were cast after the third and the sixth year to name the outgoing justices. Each renewal sends away four justices (one third) and admits four newly elected (newly appointed) justices. The tenure of a justice of the Constitutional Court expires upon expiry of the term - 9 years (3 and 6 years, respectively, lots being cast during the first term).
 
The mandate shall be terminated earlier upon: resignation submitted before the Constitutional Court; enforcement of a prison sentence for a deliberate crime; actual incapacitation which has lasted for more than one year; incompatibility with an office or activity pursuant to Art. 147 para 5 of the Constitution; death. The status of a justice of the Constitutional Court is incompatible with a representative mandate, or any state or public post, or membership in a political party or trade union, or with the practicing of a free, commercial or any other paid occupation.
The Constitutional Court justices assume their duties upon taking an oath of office in the presence of the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of the Republic, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court.
 
The Constitutional Court justices enjoy the same immunity as the members of the National Assembly and have the status of the Speaker of the National Assembly. No criminal proceedings may be instituted against a Constitutional Court justice before his immunity has been revoked. A justice’s immunity shall be revoked upon the submission to the Constitutional Court by the Chief Prosecutor of sufficient evidence as to the committing of a grave premeditated criminal offense.
III mandate, III composition (2015)
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Boris Velchev -
chairman


Date and place of birth: April 26, 1962, Sofia. Education: Faculty of Law, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, summa cum laude. Part-time lecturer (1988), then full-time Assistant Professor (1990) of criminal law at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Passed through all academic levels: Associate Professor (2002); Professor of Criminal Law (2012). Doctor of Philosophy in law (since 1997). Dr.Sc.(2015). Lecturing in criminal law and international criminal law at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia and St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo – head of the Criminal Law Studies Department there until 2012. Author of many publications on criminal law and international criminal law. Member of the Legislation Drafting Council at the National Assembly, member and Chairman of the Legal Advisory Board to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. Elected as Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria (2006). Member of the Supreme Judicial Council and the Managing Board to the National Institute of Justice. Appointed Constitutional Court Justice by the President of the Republic (2012).

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Anastas Anastasov -
judge


Date and place of birth: October 10, 1965, Yambol. Education: Graduated from the Academy of the Ministry of Interior (1990). Junior prosecutor and Prosecutor at the Regional Prosecutors’ Office in Yambol (1991 – 1996), judge at the Yambol Regional Court (1996 – 2009). Chairman of the Yambol Regional Court (2000 – 2009). Member of the XLI National Assembly, Chairman of the Internal Security and Public Order Committee (2009 – 2012), Vice-President of the XLI National Assembly (2010 – 2012). Specialization in European law, criminal law and human rights. Elected Constitutional Court Justice by the XLI National Assembly (2012).

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Georgi Angelov -
judge


Date and place of birth: February 18, 1959, Sofia. Education: Faculty of Law, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (1982). Internship as a judge at the Sofia City Court (1982 – 1983). Junior judge at the Vratza District Court (1984) and Regional judge at the Regional Court of Byala Slatina (1985 – 1986). Regional judge (1986 – 1989) and Chairman (1989 – 1991) of the Svoge Regional Court. Chief expert at the Ministry of Justice (1991). Judge (1991 – 1995) and Deputy Chairman (1995 – 1998) at the Sofia District Court. Judge at the Sofia Court of Appeal (1998 – 1999). Judge at the Supreme Administrative Court (1999 – 2012). Part-time lecturer in property law at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (1994 – 1995) and at the New Bulgarian University (2001). Lecturing in civil and administrative procedure as well as public works law at the Legal Initiative for Training and Development (1994 – 1999) and the National Institute of Justice (1999 – 2012). Contributed to the creation of the Administrative Procedures Code. Co-author of the book “Administrative Procedures Code. Commentary”. Publications in civil and administrative procedure. Elected Constitutional Court Justice by the Joint Meeting of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court (2012).

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Grozdan Iliev -
judge


Date and place of birth: September 1, 1948, Elin Pelin, District of Sofia. Education: Faculty of Law, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (1972). Regional Prosecutor at the Regional Prosecutors’ Office in Elin Pelin (February 1974 – May 1979). District Prosecutor at Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office (June 1979 – May 1983). Judge at the Sofia Military Court (May 1983 – May 1989). Judge at the Military Division of the Supreme Court (May 1989 – January 1997). Judge at the Supreme Court of Cassation (January 1997 – April 2009). From 29 April 2009 to 28 February 2013 – Deputy to the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Bulgaria and Chairperson of the Penal Division of the Supreme Court of Cassation. Author of publications on criminal law, substantive and procedural law in periodic journals. Elected Constitutional Court Justice by the XLI National Assembly with a resolution from 22 February 2013.

 

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Keti Markova -
judge


Date and place of birth: September 21, 1963, Montana. Education: Faculty of Law, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” (1986). Internship as a judge at Sofia City Court (1986-1987). Junior judge at Sofia City Court (1987-1989). Judge at Sofia Regional Court, Deputy Chair and Chair of the Second Regional Court of Sofia (1989-2003). Judge at Sofia City Court (1993-1998). Judge at Sofia Court of Appeal (1998-2005). Judge at the Supreme Court of Cassation, Criminal Department, Third Criminal Section (2005-2012). Specialisations in Belgium and the Netherlands. Criminal Law and Procedure lecturer at the National Institute of Justice. Member of the Union of Bulgarian Jurists. Appointed Constitutional Court Justice by the President of the Republic (2012). 

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Rumen Nenkov -
judge


Date and place of birth: August, 5, 1953, Sofia. Education: Faculty of Law, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (1978). Junior judge at the Sofia Regional Court (1980-1983), bailiff at the Sofia Regional Court (1983-1984), judge at the Sofia Regional Court (1984-1990), Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Justice (1990-1991), judge at the Sofia City Court (1991-1992), judge at the Supreme Court (1992-1996), judge at the Supreme Court of Cassation (1996-2009). Regional Court Chairman (1988-1990), Deputy Chairman of the Sofia City Court (1991-1992), Chairman of a penal division at the Supreme Court of Cassation (1997-2002) and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court of Cassation (2002-2009). Specialization in penal law, human rights and judicial restructuring in Great Britain, Austria, the USA, Germany, etc. Member of the Supreme Judicial Council (1997-1998; 2003-2007). Member of the Union of Bulgarian Scientists, with publications in the sphere of penal law and human rights. Member of the Central Election Commission – Deputy Chairman (1997), Chairman (2001). Elected Constitutional Court Justice by the Joint Meeting of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court (2009).

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Competencies
1. It is the Constitution alone that defines the Constitutional Court powers.
The Constitution provides that no power of the Constitutional Court shall be vested or suspended by a law.
Art. 149 para 1 of the Constitution lists in 8 points the Constitutional Court competencies.
Other Constitutional provisions complete the Constitutional Court competencies.
Art. 149 para 1 subpara 1 vests the Bulgarian Constitutional Court with the competence to provide binding interpretations of the Constitution. There is a difference between this interpretation competence and the case interpretation when the Constitutional Court exercises its other competencies. While binding interpretation seeks to extract normative sense of the interpreted Constitutional provisions, it is not charged with the settlement of a specific constitutional dispute.
The second substantial powers of the Court is to rule on complaints to the constitutionality of the laws and other acts of the National Assembly and the decrees of the President. This control is in fact the Constitutional Court’s major competency and the greatest number of instituted and resolved cases relate to it. It is post-promulgation control as it extends on legal acts that have already been promulgated in Darzhaven vestnik (The State Gazette).
 
There is only one instance when the Bulgarian Constitution provides for pre-promulgation control by the Constitutional Court: when the Constitutional Court rules on the compatibility between the Constitution and the international instruments concluded by the Republic of Bulgaria prior to their ratification.
Also, the Constitutional Court may rule on the compatibility of domestic laws with the universally recognized norms of international law and the international instruments to which Bulgaria is a party. The Constitutional Court is empowered to rule on competence disputes between the National Assembly, the President and the Council of Ministers and between the bodies of local self-government and the central executive branch of government.
Further, the Constitutional Court rules on challenges to the constitutionality of political parties and associations, on challenges to the legality of the election of the President and Vice President or of a Member of Parliament. The Constitutional Court decides on impeachment brought by the National Assembly against the President or the Vice President for treason or violation of the Constitution.
 
2. In addition the Constitution vests the Constitutional Court with the power to establish facts of constitutional relevance. These are: the resignation of the President or Vice President or their permanent incapacitation; ineligibility or incompatibility of Members of Parliament; resignation of a Constitutional Court justice, actual inability of a justice to perform over a period of more than one year; incompatibility with offices and activities under Art. 147 para 5 of the Constitution.
The Constitution vests the Constitutional Court with a competence which goes beyond fact-finding: this is the stripping of a Constitutional Court justice of his immunity. Doing that the Court finds facts and also assesses facts and passes its ruling on the basis of this assessment.
History

It was preceded by three constitutions: the so-called Constitution of Turnovo, adopted on April 16, 1879, the Constitution of December 6, 1947, the Constitution of May 18, 1971. , None of these constitutions provided a specialized state body for constitutional control. ,,The Constitution of 1971 explicitly stated that it was the National Assembly that could control that a law it had passed did not contravene the Constitution (Art. 85). The new Constitution adopted on July 12, 1991 by the Grand National Assembly provided for creation of a Constitutional Court (Chapter 8). After the entering into force of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court Act was passed (August 16, 1991). The Constitutional Court was constituted on October 3, 1991. On December 26, 1991, the Court approved the Rules of the Organization and Activities of the Constitutional Court, and by the end of the same year it passed two decisions on cases which it had been approached with. Like most of the Constitutional Courts in Europe, the Bulgarian Constitutional Court exercises post-promulgation (after the act’s publication) on the consistency of with the Constitution, and not pre-promulgation control. Besides the Bulgarian Constitutional Court is vested with a competence to interpret the Constitution (Art. 149 para 1 subpara 1). These decisions of the Constitutional Court are binding on all State institutions, including the National Assembly. They have an important preventive as they rule out the passage of legislation that contravenes the Constitution.

Previous configurations



First mandate


First composition 1991/1994

Asen Manov - chairman
Aleksandar Arabadzhiev
Ivan Parvanov
Lyuben Kornezov
Milcho Kostov
Milena Zhabinska
Mladen Danailov
Neno Nenovski
Nikolay Pavlov
Pencho Penev
Stanislav Dimitrov
Teodor Chipev
Tsanko Hadzhistoychev


Second composition 1994/1997

Asen Manov - chairman
Aleksandar Arabadzhiev
Dimitar Gochev
Georgi Markov
Ivan Grigorov
Milcho Kostov
Mladen Danailov
Nikolay Pavlov
Pencho Penev
Stanislav Dimitrov
Todor Todorov
Tsanko Hadzhistoychev


Third composition 1997/2000

Jivko Stalev - chairman
Aleksandar Arabadzhiev
Asen Manov
Dimitar Gochev
Georgi Markov
Ivan Grigorov
Margarita Zlatareva
Nedelcho Beronov
Stanislav Dimitrov
Stefanka Stoyanova
Todor Todorov
Tsanko Hadzhistoychev



Second mandate


First composition 2000/2003

Rumen Yankov - chairman
Dimitar Gochev
Georgi Markov
Hristo Danov
Lazar Gruev
Lyudmil Neykov
Margarita Zlatareva
Nedelcho Beronov
Penka Tomcheva
Stefanka Stoyanova
Todor Todorov
Vasil Gotsev
Zhivan Belchev


Second composition 2003/2006

Nedelcho Beronov - chairman
Emilia Drumeva
Evgeni Tanchev
Lazar Gruev
Lyudmil Neykov
Margarita Zlatareva
Maria Pavlova
Rumen Yankov
Stefanka Stoyanova
Vasil Gotsev
Vladislav Slavov
Zhivan Belchev


Third composition 2006/2009

Rumen Yankov - chairman
Blagovest Punev
Dimitar Tokushev
Emilia Drumeva
Evgeni Tanchev
Georgi Petkanov
Krasen Stoychev
Lyudmil Neykov
Plamen Kirov
Snezhana Nacheva
Vasil Gotsev
Vladislav Slavov



Third mandate


First composition 2009/2012

Evgeni Tanchev - chairman
Blagovest Punev
Dimitar Tokushev
Emilia Drumeva
Georgi Petkanov
Krasen Stoychev
Plamen Kirov
Rumen Nenkov
Stefka Stoeva
Tsanka Tsankova
Vanyushka Angusheva
Vladislav Slavov


Second composition 2012/2015

Dimitar Tokushev - chairman
Anastas Anastasov
Blagovest Punev
Boris Velchev
Georgi Angelov
Grozdan Iliev
Keti Markova
Krasen Stoychev
Plamen Kirov
Rumen Nenkov
Stefka Stoeva
Tsanka Tsankova




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