Public distrust of Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, has reached an all-time high, as protestors from three of the country’s largest cities took to the streets on April 24 to demand that he step down, reported Balkan Insight.
Bulgarian citizen Nikolay Staykov helped arrange the demonstration in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. Staykov said that “the reasons for [Tsatsarov] remaining in his post are [purely] political.”
In the latest installment of Tsatsarov’s purported political bias, a video taken of prominent businessman Sasho Donchev showed Donchev denouncing pressure he had received from Tsatsarov relating to his ownership of the “critically minded” Sega daily newspaper and for his ties to former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov’s Yes, Bulgaria anti-corruption movement. Donchev said Tsatsarov had referred to his behavior as “unacceptable,” the Balkan Insight article stated.
Last month, Donchev outed Tsatsarov for an “unofficial” meeting he had agreed to with Bulgaria Socialist Party member and businessman, Georgi Gergov, although Tsatsarov took to the state prosecution website to deny any such meeting.
On April 23, Gergov was forced to step down from the party’s board amidst pressure from the Socialist Party leader. The same day, Boyko Borisov—the former and new Prime Minister and GERB party leader—blamed a “trap set by red oligarchs” for the meeting allegations.
Dimitar Markov, a legal analyst at the Center for the Study of Democracy, characterized the meeting as “another piece of the puzzle” illustrating political influence in Bulgaria and a “worrying trend which concerns citizens.” Markov stated it is unlikely that Tsatsarov will come under any type of investigation by the Supreme Judicial Council, the article noted.
Two previously leaked conversations revealed Borisov’s capability to “control the decisions of supposedly independent judicial bodies,” said Balkan Insight.
The first leak showed a 2013 exchange between Borisov and Sofia Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov, who uttered to then Prime Minister Borisov, “Don’t smile at me. You chose him,” in reference to Tsatsarov’s appointment as head prosecutor.
The second leak divulged discussions in 2015 between two former judges which “further disclosed the ties apparently exist between politicians, Tsatsarov and [the judiciary].”
Tsatsarov’s name has been implicated in several other high-profile controversies since his promotion as head prosecutor, including the “Kostinbrod Affair,” Corporate Commercial Bank raid and investigations into high-profile businessmen, Bogomil Manchev and Grisha Ganchev.
In Bulgaria public opinion polls, distrust in the prosecutor’s office is at 94 percent.