Macedonians Holding Bulgarian Passports Face Fines for Voting in 2014 EU Elections
Many Macedonians in possession of Bulgarian passports are facing fines for having voted in the 2014 European Parliament elections.
The Macedonians holding dual citizenship voted in Bulgarian diplomatic missions in Macedonia, including at the Bulgarian embassy in Skopje, without being eligible to do so.
They did not fulfill the criteria for residence which stipulates that in order to be eligible to vote in European Parliament elections they should have lived in Bulgaria or other EU member state for at least three months prior to the date of the elections.
Most of the lawsuits are being handled by the authorities in the towns of Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil where many Macedonians have registered fictive addresses.
However since they were not resident at these addresses, they are facing fines of between BGN 300 and BGN 1000, which are handed to them at border checkpoints when entering Bulgaria.
The defendants complained that their names were featured in the electoral rolls and they were not aware of the requirement for a three-month residence.
Furthermore, they were not warned by the election officials that they are not eligible to vote.
According to media reports, there were 283 lawsuits in Blagoevgrad against Macedonians for having voted illegally in Skopje and Bitola and more than 250 in Kyustendil.
When asked to comment, the chairperson of the Bulgarian Central Election Commission (CIK) stated that the institution had not been aware of the problem.
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