Bulgaria's Parliament Overrides Presidential Veto on Election Rules
Bulgaria’s Parliament rejected on Wednesday the presidential veto on disputed changes to election rules concerning the opening of polling stations abroad.
The veto imposed by President Rosen Plevneliev last week was rejected by 135 members of the 240-seat National Assembly.
More specifically, the presidential veto concerns changes to Article 14 which, according to Plevneliev, put at disadvantage Bulgarian expats only on account of their place of residence. Setting limits to the number of polling stations that can be opened in Bulgarian embassies and consulates will make it more difficult to vote for Bulgarians living abroad, Plevneliev had said in the motives for his decision to ask parliament to reconsider the controversial change to the Electoral Code.
Twenty-seven MPs backed the veto and three abstained.
The factions of the Socialists, the biggest opposition force in the current Parliament, and left-wing ABV party didn’t take part in the vote.
Expectedly, 16 of those MPs who opposed the change to election rules and backed Plevneliev’s veto were from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). The predominantly ethnic Turk party receives considerable support in general elections from Bulgarian citizens permanently residing in neighbouring Turkey.
The nationalist coalition Patriotic Front, which backs the minority coalition government of GERB and the Reformist Bloc in Parliament but has no cabinet ministers, had proposed the change in a bid to limit what it perceives as influence of Turkish authorities on Bulgarian citizens casting ballots in Turkey.
The presidential veto was rejected by MPs from the dominant partner in the coalition government, GERB, the nationalist Ataka party, the Patriotic Front and Bulgarian Democratic Center.
MPs from the junior partner in the government coalition, the Reformist Bloc, were split in their vote with three MPs backing the presidential veto. Six independents also supported the veto.
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