Bulgaria MPs to Decide on Controversial Curbs to Voting Abroad

Politics » DOMESTIC | July 13, 2016, Wednesday // 09:08
Bulgaria: Bulgaria MPs to Decide on Controversial Curbs to Voting Abroad File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian lawmakers are set to have a final vote on amendments to the Electoral Code that introduce restrictions to the number of polling stations that could be used by nationals living abroad.

The latest version of the changes allow for a maximum of 35 stations per country. The number does not include diplomatic missions.

Additionally, at least 60 people will have to demand that a station be set up in their respective location.

Expat voting in national elections has inflamed tensions in Bulgaria over the past months, as the new Electoral Code was being prepared.

In the spring, a nationalist coalition called Patriotic Front which backs the government but has no cabinet minister tabled amendments which banned the opening of any polling stations outside embassies and consulates and which were submitted with the vote of lawmakers from the governing minority coalition.

The PF argued the move would hinder controlled expat vote from Turkey from which, it said, the ethnic Turk-dominated DPS party largely benefited.

Parliament's vote, however, sparked outrage from expats and civil society members. The PF then backtracked, despite its earlier intention to withdraw support from the government unless the changes are introduced.

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Tags: Patriotic Front, electoral code, voting abroad, polling stations, DPS
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