Bulgaria: COVID-19 as an Excuse to Solidify Autocracy?

On 23 March 2020, Bulgaria’s Parliament enacted a Law on the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Announced by Parliament on 13 March 2020 (hereby referred to as Law on Emergency for brevity). This was the second attempt to enact this piece of legislation after Bulgaria’s President vetoed some of its provisions. This new Law entered into force retroactively on 13 March 2020 when Parliament declared a state of emergency (izvunredno polojenie) in light of COVID-19. The peculiar situation that Parliament can declare a state of emergency, define its scope and provide guidance on the measures which could be taken later, and apply the law retroactively to justify measures and actions taken by the executive in the period before defining these terms is troublesome from a rule of law perspective. Moreover, some of the measures go beyond healthcare concerns and create opportunities for arbitrariness and human rights violations. B

Continue Reading →