Outgoing Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev's whole career has been marred by politicized actions - from totally ignoring the role of Delyan Peevski in the collapse of CorpBank, instigating the raid on the President's administration in 2020 that sparked nation-wide protests, to the last-ditch attempt to bargain his survival by reviving the specter of long-overdue cases like BarcelonaGate.
Now that he became the first-ever Prosecutor General to get dismissed amidst his term, Mr Geshev finally decided to formalize his political aspirations and officially enter politics.
In a pre-recorded statement, published on his personal YouTube profile, which begins with the address "Dear Bulgarian brothers and sisters" and abounds with archaic populist vocabulary, the disgruntled ex-prosecutor announced on Monday that he had resigned as prosecutor and is leaving the judiciary. Moreover, Mr Geshev made it clear that he was entering politics with the promise to continue "the fight for truth and justice in our Fatherland", and "with the clear understanding that political problems are solved by political means".
An EU patriot
While we still don't know Mr Geshev's precise political plans and aspirations, his vocabulary and symbolism hint at a quasi-nationalist, but also pro-European direction.
His address was recorded against the backdrop of the Bulgarian and the EU flags, and unlike the usual style of his statements, the text was obviously pre-written, with Mr Geshev carefully reading from an autocue. The points he made, however, were very familiar - the "forces of darkness" have removed the Prosecutor General with a change in the laws made specifically to dispose of Mr Geshev under the guise of European standards to prevent "our long-standing work on key cases of high public interest".
According to Mr Geshev, he had resisted the temptations offered to him by unholy forces: "In the face of damnation and disgrace, I chose truth and dignity, I chose the example of Bulgarian national hero Vasil] Levski," he says. And after mentioning "Bulgarian values and virtues, the future of the country and the future of our children and grandchildren", he declared that the country is at a crossroad. This is followed by a call to "fight for truth and for justice" and to "reject the deceit and deception of corrupt politicians and rise as a people in all our stature".
The less heroic side of things
In fact, just two days before his announcement, on Friday, it became known that Mr Geshev had applied to be reinstated as a prosecutor in the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office (SCP). It was reported by one of the members of the SJC - Kalina Chapkanova, with the comment that the prosecutorial college might refuse his reappointment to the SCP; there were here were such precedents following negative opinions of the ethics committee.
Mr Geshev's resignation, announced on Monday, comes a day after Justice Minister Atanas Slavov said he viewed Geshev's return as prosecutor to the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office to be unacceptable.
"Geshev was dismissed as chief prosecutor for undermining the prestige of the judiciary and there is no way that a prosecutor dismissed on this basis can return as a prosecutor to the Supreme Prosecutor's Office," Atanas Slavov told bTV on Sunday.
Cold welcome for Geshev's heir
The temporary replacement for Mr Geshev - his ex-deputy-turned-nemesis Borislav Sarafov, received a less than warm reception from judicial circles. The Union of Bulgarian Judges (UBJ) released a position, calling the SJC decision to appoint Mr Sarafov "yet another shameful decision that severely damages the authority of the Bulgarian judiciary".
Justice Minister Slavov also condemned the quick decision of the SJC to move on with the appointment of the police investigator chief, whose reputation and track record are just as problematic as Mr Geshev's. Mr Slavov's party, WCC-DB, joined the anti-Sarafov choir and so did NGOs, including the leading rights organization in the country, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.
Mr Sarafov was appointed by the votes of the Prosecution's college within the SJC and, according to his critics, did not abide by the spirit of the new rules for selecting the highest-ranking members of the judicial administration. What is more, the process took place behind closed doors, without any debate about Mr Sarafov's professional achievements or recent conduct, and he might remain on the post for an indefinite period of time as politicians squabble over constitutional changes and the selection of the next Prosecutor General.
In short, the War of Succession within the Prosecution is far from over and it might have far-reaching effects for Bulgarian politics.