Bulgarian Election Rules Referendum Petition Complete
Some 500,000 signatures have been gathered in the petition calling for a referendum on election rules in Bulgaria.
When handed to Parliament, the 500,000-strong list of supporters will lead to a mandatory referendum on three key voting questions.
Georgi Bliznashki, who chairs the Referendum Initiative Committee, announced the result, adding that collection of signatures is to continue until March 10, CROSS News Agency reports.
Bliznashki explained the Initiative Committee would like to count on a "signature reserve" extending further than 500,000 "in order to avoid a possible invalidation of the petition on technical grounds", he was quoted as saying. In his words, "some people for example do not write their full names", thus nullifying their signature.
He also expressed his belief that a thorough check of the petition could be implemented within 10 days upon its handing to Parliament. Once its validity is stated, Bulgarian MPs have a 3-month deadline to set a date for a national poll, originally intended by initiators to be held simultaneously with European elections on May 25.
Bliznashki declared that not listening to the people's will for calling a referendum would be "the suicide of the politicians presently in power".
In January, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev proposed that Bulgarians have their say on three issues, namely the introduction of a majority election, compulsory voting, and e-voting.
Rosen Plevneliev's proposal for referendum was announced a few weeks ahead of the vote on a new Election Code and thus divided the opinion in Bulgaria, with some seeing it as a veto on the new legislation and others as part of the infighting between the government and the head of state.
Regardless of his intentions, a referendum should be automatically called if half a million citizens have made the demand according to Bulgarian law.
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