Non-EU Bulgarian Expats Banned from EP Vote
Bulgarian citizens who live outside the European Union will not be allowed to vote in EP elections.
This was approved Thursday by Bulgarian Members of the Parliament at the second and final reading of the draft Election Code.
According to the new texts, Bulgarian citizens, who have a residential address in a country other than an EU Member State would be removed from voting lists for European elections.
In addition, Bulgarian citizens, who 6 months prior to the vote had an address outside Bulgaria would not be able to cast a ballot in local elections – for mayors and municipal councilors.
The draft was submitted by a group of MPs from the ad-hoc committee working on it, led by the committee's Chair, Maya Manolova, who is a Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and MP from the ruling left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
On Wednesday, the MPs rejected the proposal of the formerly-ruling opposition centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgarian party (GERB) to have a mandatory vote, while the one of the liberal, predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) to remove the requirement for permanent residency was postponed.
After the vote on the new residency requirements, DPS MP Yanko Yankov commented that this was affecting negatively mostly Bulgarian citizens living in Turkey and was aimed mainly against DPS.
"We deprive once again from voting rights a group of Bulgarians who have permanent addresses here, own homes and pay taxes," said Yankov.
Meanwhile, MPs from GERB said they might approach the Constitutional Court over the new Election Code, but did not offer details on particular texts they intend to challenge.
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