Judicialisation of Government Accountability in Bulgaria: Crisis or Transformation of Democracy?
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Using the methodological framework set out in Chapter 5, this chapter assesses the Bulgarian government’s accountability in the aftermath of media allegations. The empirical findings depict a trend of judicialisation of accountability in Bulgaria, which means that when the government is criticised in the media, the prosecutor and the courts are likely to be involved in sanctioning and investigating the implicated incumbents. These findings contribute to the vibrant theoretical debate as to whether judicialisation enhances democracy and whether it benefits the elites or the public in terms of accessibility, legitimacy, contestability, uncertainty, aggregation of demands and intimidation. Specifically, the chapter argues that the judicialisation of accountability in Bulgaria has had a two-sided effect on democracy. On the negative side, prosecutorial investigations of media allegations have been used by the elites to threaten opponents, legitimise threats and gain time. On the positive side, court review of various media allegations has allowed the public greater access to the political process, a more appropriate forum for resolving non-political issues, and has provided a more fact-based public discourse.
KeywordsBulgaria Courts Prosecutor Democracy Media Elite Public
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