Bulgarians in London, Brussels Protest Electoral Code Amendments
Bulgarians living in London and Brussels held on Saturday protests against the recent amendments to the Electoral Code which had been approved by parliament at second reading earlier during the week.
The protesters were particularly enraged by the amendment which stipulates that voting abroad can only take place in Bulgarian diplomatic missions.
This revoked an earlier provision, which had allowed for voting to take place outside embassies and consulates if at least forty voters had requested the opening of polling stations outside diplomatic missions.
Bulgarians living and working in Belgium staged a flashmob in front of the building of the permanent representation of Bulgaria to the EU in Brussels on Saturday.
In their words, the adoption of the amendments has proven that MPs are working solely in their own interests.
They also expressed opposition to the “Not voting for anyone” option on the ballot papers, which is likely to be adopted due to the introduction of compulsory voting. According to them, this will increase the share of the votes won by large parties.
Protesters added that the amendments are denying two million Bulgarians abroad from their right to vote.
People also gathered in front of the Bulgarian embassy in London on Saturday, saying that it is impossible for the 50 000 Bulgarians living in the UK to vote solely in the embassy.
Students from Oxford have called on President Rosen Plevneliev to impose veto on the controversial amendments.
The protesters have also started an online petition entitled "I want to vote! Against the unacceptable amendments to the Electoral Code".
The petition is addressed to the parliament, the prime minister and the president and states that around 80 000 people will not be able to vote abroad due to the adoption of the recent amendments.
The people signing the petition are also against the decision of parliament to ignore the proposal to create a separate constituency for Bulgarians voting abroad.
The protesters have also expressed opposition to the hasty introduction of remote electronic voting without carrying out the necessary tests and trials.
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