Sofia University 'Occupiers' Plan Next Steps
The group of students from the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" who have occupied the central building are holding a meeting on Tuesday to discuss their next steps.
The organizers of the occupation were not satisfied with the official statement of the Academic Council on Monday, which claimed to support the freedom of public expression of opinion, but urged the students to find another form of protest, that would not disturb the academic process.
Despite the request of the Provost Ivan Ilchev to end the occupation, both entrances to the central building of the country's oldest university remained closed on Tuesday morning.
Representatives of the protesting students, who are serving as guards on the entrances, claim there are around 100 people in the building.
On Monday, several other universities in Sofia, and across the country, initiated their own occupations in support of the movement.
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Matt is quite right. The idea of such local 'independents' is specifically being considerred by the current committee on electoral reform. It allows for known local candidates to be successful. But it does not allow a smaller party to enter on a broader basis. I think that would be a good idea here.
A ‘VOTE-SHARING AGREEMENT’ between parties, another feature in some countries (Israel an examples) is another option. In the Israeli national poll in 2012, a some parties had such agreements on vote-sharing (goo.gl/FvgoK ). Such an agreement before the election campaign enables one of the pair to benefit from the "surplus" votes that each of them receives, over and beyond the number of votes for a mandate.
Parties that have reached vote-sharing agreements place their surplus votes into a joint kitty. If the sum total of the surplus votes of the two parties is enough to win another parliamentary seat, one of the two will win it. If one party does not pass the threshold, then all its votes are considered "surplus" and are passed on to the other party. If the sum total of the surplus votes of the two parties is enough to win another parliamentary seat, one of the two will win it. If a party passes the threshold, any votes more than what is precisely necessary for a single mandate (or a sum of mandates) can be passed on to the other party. Voters are aware of this agreement and thus have no fear that their votes will be “wasted” if the party X they vote for does not reach the threshold, since the “back-up” agreement allows a second party Y, in a kind of “tacit coalition” with party X, to benefit from the precisely calculated sum of “surplus votes” from the results for party X. This is different than a formal coalition. It could work here, the details would have to be clarified.
It might allow a party formation to the left of BSP (in the view of some of us, badly needed) to gain a mandate or two. In the May 2013 elections, the Balgarska levitca received only 0.17% of the votes, ditto some 0.17% for the Union of Communists in Bulgaria and Che Guevara Movement (goo.gl/dPRtY8) . If they had a 'sharing agreement with BSP along these lines described, maybe a different outcome.
the UK system is by no means ideal, but what Bulgaria seems to lack is the ability of so called "independents" to get elected to parliament.
you need to have a big party which can campaign across most of the country in order to make the 4% threshold. The UK has specific constituencies and "seats" which can be won according to mainly population and slightly geographic boundaries. This means the upside is one strong candidate with a lot of local support can win a seat ahead of the main political parties - Here in Bulgaria, it's almost impossible to have a small party with very limited funds make any kind of impact.
The downside is that a party could conceivably win, say, 20% of the electoral vote across the entire country, yet not win a single seat.
The upside is you don't have the situation as in Blagoevgrad, where nobody voted for the DPS, yet have DPS MPs appointed to govern them.
The occupying students call for immediate resignation of the government and a snap election --- precisely the demands of the GERB leadership and the Reform Bloc. The students subjectively may say their protest is 'political', not 'partisan.' But objectively it is clearly party-linked, whether they want it or not -- since there is no electoral reform and virtually the same parties will enter the electoral arena again. Eventuating in a snap election where the center-right will likelyhave a good chance to form a new coalition, or the present coalition will be reconstituted once again. On & on.
So a main demand now should be 'finalize electoral reform'. One reform that would change the composition of any future parliament would be lowering the barrier for entry to 2 percent, as in some countries (like Israel, 12 parties in the Knesset). This would lead to a number of new parties and a broader representation of different views and new individuals in whatever coalition could be cobbled together.
Elections under the current circumstances cannot lead to the fundamental changes many students and ciizens are calling for. What is necessary for students and the discontented is to build a strong movement for social, economic and political change. That is possiible.
Just look south to Greece: there are many examples in the arena of protest and party formation there. Syriza, Antarsya have significant representation, especially among students and staff at the universities. There is absolutely nothing comparable anywhere in Bulgaria. Ideas for radical change and a transformative programme, a critique of liberal democracy as it has developed in Bulgaria since 1990 -- an analysis that goes far beyond calling for 'morality' in politics.
Students should also be calling for changes in university structure and operation, issues that affect them directly, as students at VTU in Veliko Turnovo have openly stated. The extreme contradictions in Bulgaria require a probing analysis of the kind many students and lecturers are developing in the crisis in Greece. Why not here?