Bulgarian Constitutional Court to Try Vote Void Case
Bulgaria's Constitutional Court has decided to try the claim contesting and asking to void the May12 early general elections results.
The case was filed on May 23, 2013, on the request of 96 Members of the 42nd General Assembly from the formerly-ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.
The grounds of the request are "gross violations of the main principles of the rule of law and democracy in the day before the vote."
GERB leader and former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, claims his party's chances had been damaged by allegations that it was about to commit voting fraud. He referred to the overnight raid of the Bulgarian prosecuting authority and the State Agency for National Security, DANS, at a printing house on the eve of Election Day, during which a total of 350 000 illegal ballots were seized.
The printing house is owned by a GERB municipal councilor, which prompted opposition parties to accuse GERB of an attempted voting fraud. The parties thus allegedly broke the mandatory pre-election silence on the day before the vote.
The judges, however, rejected the request to demand from the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassations the materials pertaining to the pre-trial proceedings on the case of the illegally printed ballots discovered at the Kostinbrod printing house.
The Constitutional Court identified as interested parties in trial the National Assembly, the President, the Council of Ministers, three ministers, the Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, the Chief Prosecutor, the National Ombudsman, the Central Electoral Commission, and a number of NGOs.
The interested parties can submit written statements and relevant evidence within seven days.
Meanwhile, the claimants can file additional considerations within the same period.
In addition, theъ insist that certain polling agencies have been solidly linked to a political party and reported data that led to changes in voters' decisions, that there were violations in the vote abroad, and large-scale vote buying on Election Day.
Three volumes of documented evidence are attached to the claim.
The 96 MPs further request an open-doors trial.
GERB lawmakers have also filed claims calling for the cancellation of the vote on behalf of two marginal parties – the conservative Law, Order and Justice, RZS, and the populist nationalist National Front for Salvation of Bulgaria, NFSB.
Under the Constitution, the decision about the void can be made only by the Constitutional Court.
A political party has the right to ask annulment of election results, but only through the intermediation of five institutions – the President, the Supreme Court of Cassations, VKS, the Supreme Administrative Court, through their respective judges' plenum, the Chief Prosecutor, and at least one fifth of the sworn-in Members of the Parliament.
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