Six-Point Referendum on Political System to be Held in Bulgaria in Summer
A referendum featuring six questions on the political system will be held in Bulgaria in the summer.
This became clear after the parliament adopted amendments to the Electoral Code on Thursday, which revoked a previous provision that had stipulated that if a referendum and elections are scheduled to take place within the same year, these should be held simultaneously.
A total of 115 MPs voted in favour of the amendment, eleven lawmakers were against, while twelve abstained.
The amendment was supported by MPs from the largest ruling party GERB, the two largest opposition parties – the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), and one of the parties supporting the coalition government – the Patriotic Front (PF).
Lawmakers from the junior coalition partner, the Reformist Bloc (RB), voted against.
Thus, the referendum will not be held together with the forthcoming presidential elections in the autumn, but instead will take place between the middle of July and the middle of August.
The popular TV show hosted by Slavi Trifonov, Slavi's show, initiated a petition in November last year, which managed to gather 673 481 signatures in favour of holding the referendum. A check by competent authorities established that 572 650 of the signatures are valid.
According to the legislation, the minimum threshold for the holding of a referendum initiated by citizens is 400 000 valid signatures.
Three of the questions proposed by Slavi's show concern the electoral rules and cover the same issues which had been proposed for inclusion in a referendum by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev last year.
These are the introduction of compulsory voting, electronic voting and majority electoral system.
Last year, the parliament rejected two of the questions proposed by Plevneliev and left only the one on remote electronic voting. At the referendum, which was held with the local elections last year, voters overwhelmingly approved the introduction of electronic voting.
The three remaining questions proposed by Slavi's show concern cutting the number of MPs from 240 to 120, direct election of the directors of the regional directorates of the interior ministry and the heads of the district police departments and cutting the state subsidy paid to parties and coalitions to BGN 1 per voter.
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