Parliament Speaker: Voting Referendum to Be Debated in Days
Bulgarian Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov has promised that the referendum on voting rules proposed January is to be put onto MPs' agenda this week.
His announcement comes nearly five months after President Rosen Plevneliev suggested that a national poll should be held on three key issues: the introduction of a majority election system, mandatory voting, and e-voting.
Mikov told the Bulgarian National Radio that the proposal would not be put for discussion "just upon calls by the President," as "[prof. Georgi] Bliznashki" has been quite dramatic about the fate of his signatures".
He was referring to a petition calling for a referendum on the three issues started in February, in a move that was not officially related to Plevneliev, but that was triggered just weeks after his address on that matter.
In late winter, a petition containing around half a million signatures was introduced into Parliament by an Initiative Committee presided by prof. Georgi Bliznashki. It failed to oblige lawmakers to set a date for referendum, as some of those over 500 000 signatures were nullified.
But under Bulgarian law, it had gathered enough support to be put forward for discussion in Parliament.
MPs from the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) were rather reluctant on the issue until last week's calls by leader Sergey Stanishev for the introduction of compulsory voting, a move with which he divided opinions even among the members of his party.
Stanishev's comments followed a rift within the ruling coalition of the BSP and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), after the latter urged early elections, with leader Lyutvi Mestan declaring the cabinet would not be able to go through its entire term in office.
Earlier this week, the center-right opposition party GERB voiced its support for the holding of a voting rules referendum alongside early elections on September 29.
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