Bulgarian Parliament Faces Heated Voting Rules Debates
The Members of the Bulgarian Parliament will vote Friday at second reading texts from the draft Election Code.
This is the third day in a row of voting on the new legislation as time is pressing due to the upcoming European elections.
On Thursday, the MPs from the archenemies - the ruling left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the formerly-ruling opposition centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgarian party (GERB) – got involved in heated debates and this imposed an extended workday.
The lawmakers discussed the draft until 8 pm and got to article 181 from a total of 498.
Article 181 grants to citizens, parties, coalitions, initiative committees and candidates the right and the freedom to campaign verbally and in writing at meetings and through the media.
The lawmakers will also discuss Friday the language to be used during campaigning because the liberal, predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) insists on allowing a language other than Bulgarian with a translation in Bulgarian.
On Thursday, MPs approved text banning Bulgarian citizens who live outside the European Union from voting in EP elections.
According to the new text, 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.
On Wednesday, the MPs rejected the proposal of GERB to have a mandatory vote.
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 BSP.
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