Bulgaria Parliament Backs Introduction of Online Voting

Politics » DOMESTIC | January 21, 2016, Thursday // 12:05
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Parliament Backs Introduction of Online Voting Photo by EPA/BGNES

Lawmakers have overwhelmingly given the green light to the introduction of online voting in all elections and referendums.

As many as 137 MPs have voted in favour, 55 giving the thumbs down and citing concerns about voting secrecy.

Under a draft proposal yet to be completed by Parliament, every Bulgarian citizen should be able to vote using the Internet "or another network".

The move was supported by lawmakers from the main ruling conservative GERB party, along with junior coalition partner, right-wing Reformist Bloc (RB), left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) and the opposition Bulgarian Democratic Center (BDC).

Socialist opposition BSP, nationalist Ataka party, and the Patriotic Front which backs the government, voted against.

Critics of the proposal believe there are currently no guarantees that the vote will not be subject to manipulation, adding most of the Western world still refrains from using the method as a legitimate option to vote.

In October, Bulgarians overwhelmingly said "yes" to online voting. Turnout, however, was not enough to make the outcome binding, and the result had to be considered by Parliament.

Changes to the Electoral Code will be needed to allow e-voting. Lawmakers have to adopt them by April or early May if the new method is to be used in the forthcoming presidential elections in the autumn.

Amendments to electoral legislation are not allowed if less than six months remain until an election.

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Tags: Referendum, e-voting, online voting
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