Bulgaria’s PM Hints at Possible Revision of Controversial Changes to Electoral Code

Politics » DOMESTIC | April 25, 2016, Monday // 16:39
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s PM Hints at Possible Revision of Controversial Changes to Electoral Code Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. File photo by BGNES

GERB are inclined to revise the controversial changes to the Electoral Code that have provoked public discontent, the leader of the dominant party in Bulgaria’s governing coalition has said.

If this were a single-party government of GERB, those changes would have never been cleared Parliament, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told reporters in Sofia on Monday – just days after the lawmakers gave the green light to a set of controversial changes that have drawn fire both at home and abroad.

Borisov reiterated his position that GERB bore the entire burden of the decisions taken at the request of the party’s partners in government. Therefore, he said, talks planned for Tuesday with all parties which are part of the governing coalition or support the cabinet in Parliament, would aim to give everyone a forum to defend their proposals.

The Patriotic Front (PF), a group of several small parties which supports Borisov’s coalition government composed of GERB and the Reformist Bloc but has no cabinet ministers, put forward several changes to the Electoral Code, saying the amendments would make the voting process more transparent and help avoid some flaws of past elections.

“Even though most of them[the changes] are running completely counter to my views, as a responsible party we supported them for the sake of stability and the coalition,” bTV broadcaster quoted Borisov as saying.

The PF proposed and Parliament approved the introduction of compulsory voting as well as cutting the number of polling stations abroad, leaving only those established at Bulgarian embassies and consulates.

The introduction of compulsory voting was accompanied by a requirement to delete from electoral rolls all voters who had failed to turn out at polling stations. If those voters wanted to vote in subsequent elections in the future, they would have to register again with the election administration, the MPs decided.

The approved cut in the number of polling stations opened abroad would effectively make it harder to vote for expats. The change has already sparked protests by members of Bulgarian diaspora.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Borisov, electoral code, compulsory voting, polling stations, electoral code
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