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Voiding Election Results in Bulgaria

Novinite Insider » EXPERT VOICES | May 17, 2013, Friday // 09:48
How Election Results Can Be Voided in Bulgaria: Voiding Election Results in Bulgaria On May 12, Bulgarians voted in early general elections, file photo

After the formerly-ruling GERB party announced they want the results from the May 12 general elections voided over suspicions of vote rigging, legal experts in Bulgaria have commented on ways to do so.

It has emerged that the technology behind the plan of the centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, of ex Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to annul the elections is a cumbersome procedure, set forth in the Constitution.

Under it, 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, VAS, through their respective judges' plenum, the Chief Prosecutor, and at least one fifth of the sworn-in Members of the Parliament.

The latter is interpreted by the majority of legal experts as needing to have a convened Parliament in order for GERB to be able to ask the Constitutional Court for a void through its MPs.

However, Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev offered a different interpretation Friday morning, saying GERB MPs could do the move now, as the mandate starts on election day, not the date of the oath of office.

The deadline to ask the Constitutional Court to annul the result is 15 days after the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, announces the official results. The Constitutional Court cannot start the procedure on its own as well, as it needs to be addressed by one of the said five institutions.

In addition, the five institutions must file a claim with clean-cut arguments and evidence, not just accusations. The rule requires a majority of judges – half plus one of them, or 7 judges.

The Constitutional Court 12-magistrates panel can request all type of information, even classified one, and can assign expert groups and reports, along with ordering a new ballot count.

So far, a full void of election results has not taken place in Bulgaria; there have been only partial ones.

There is no deadline for the Constitutional Court to rule on the void. The only exception is the presidential election with a one-month deadline for the rule.

Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, and Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, have already firmly declared they do not see any need to annul the election results.

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, Sotir Tsatsarov, president, Chief Prosecutor, VAS, VKS, Constitutional Court, election results, annulment, void, GERB, general elections, Elections 2013, Boyko Borisov, CEC
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