Road to Macedonia, Greece Blocked by Protests over Unwanted DPS Lawmaker
The European route E-79 remained sealed off for hours on Monday as angry demonstrators voiced their anger at authorities' decision to hand out an MP seat to Aleksandar Metodiev from the DPS.
Metodiev, also known as "Bat Sali", will be among lawmakers representing the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) from the region of Kyustendil, a town in Bulgaria's south-west.
Only 800 people in the region cast a ballot for the DPS in last Sunday's early elections, but the party (with the eighth result in Kyustendil) received a total of about 60 000 votes from abroad, which were reallocated across Bulgaria's electoral regions.
This system enables "Bat Sali" to make it into Parliament, and voters from the towns of Kyustendil and Dupnitsa are now protesting at the Central Electoral Commission (CEC)'s decision.
E-79 was blocked by hundreds of cars, motorcycles and people as of Monday noon, the Bulgarian National Radio reports.
Demonstrators are determined not to allow "the party with the smallest number of votes" to have a mandate and will not allow "Bat Sali" to represent them in the National Assembly.
Local authorities, including Kyustendil mayor and municipal officials, were also present.
Protesters holding a placard that reads, "Dupnitsa will not be the town of Bat Sali!"
"The 10th [Kystendil's] Electoral Region has no DPS lawmakers," Focus News Agency quoted Mayor Petar Paunov as saying.
Infuriated citizens demand changes to the Electoral Code, approved earlier this year by the previous elected government.
They also insist that protocols from the vote in Turkey should be thoroughly and carefully re-examined.
Ivan Andonov, who presides over the Kyustendil Municipal Council, warned that the protest will be "relocated" to the capital Sofia if demonstrators' demands are not heard. Some of the protesters vowed to blockade the Parliament building in order to prevent "Bat Sali" from entering and being sworn in at the first lawmakers' session.
A few dozen protesters already tried to "occupy" the CEC building in Sofia.
Similar rallies were also staged last week.
Metodiev, also an MP in the previous (2013-2014) National Assembly, was a Deputy Chairman of the Municipal Council at the town of Samokov, near Dupnitsa, between 2007 and 2011.
The CEC meanwhile reacted to the developments, urging voters to appeal before the Constitutional Court and not the electoral watchdog, since it is there where "election results are contested" in CEC Spokesman Aleksandar Andreev's words.
Andreev added social anger should not be directed at the elections body ("carrying out legal provisions") and shoule be transformed into a demand for legislative changes instead.
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