Bulgarian MPs Keep Provision Allowing Simultaneous Holding of Referendums, Elections
The Bulgarian parliament reversed its decision on one of the amendments to the Electoral Code it had adopted last week, which stipulated that referendums and elections should not be held simultaneously.
Thus the MPs upheld the earlier provision which had allowed for referendums to be held simultaneously with elections if the latter are to take place in the same year as the former has been initiated.
Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva suggested revoting of the controversial amendment which had been proposed by the largest opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
The issue of the holding of the referendums was one of the contentious issues which was discussed at a meeting between Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the parties supporting the coalition government on Tuesday.
At the meeting, it was agreed that the president will be the one to determine whether to hold referendums together with elections.
This means that the six-point referendum on the political system initiated by popular Bulgarian TV host Slavi Trifonov will be held together with the forthcoming presidential elections in the autumn.
The parliament reversed most of its decisions on the amendments to the Electoral Code it had adopted last week after citizens expressed their discontent.
Also on Thursday, MPs also adopted the introduction of machine voting, which will take place in at least 500 polling stations. A trial machine counting of ballot papers will take place for the first time at the forthcoming presidential elections in the autumn.
The parliament also adopted compulsory voting which will not be applicable for Bulgarians abroad until the introduction of remote electronic voting. Trial electronic voting will be held at elections starting from 2018 onwards.
MPs also reversed some of the controversial decisions they have made on the opening of polling stations for Bulgarians living abroad.
President Rosen Plevneliev has fifteen days to decide whether to impose a veto on the amendments.
The second largest opposition party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), has threatened to refer the introduction of compulsory voting to the Constitutional Court.
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