Bulgaria's Ombudsman Urges Parliament to Hold a Vote on Referendum Results

Politics » DOMESTIC | January 9, 2017, Monday // 13:04
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Ombudsman Urges Parliament to Hold a Vote on Referendum Results File photo, BGNES

National Ombudsman Maya Manolova has called on Parliament to have a say on the results of a referendum on Bulgaria's electoral system held in November.

At a press conference, Manolova has argued the remaining 20 days of work would be "enough" for Parliament to debate and vote on the three issues overwhelmingly backed by Bulgarian citizens.

The National Assembly has to work for at least three more weeks, in line with the demands of Bulgaria's biggest party GERB (chaired by outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov), Focus News Agency quotes her as answering to a journalist's question.

The legislature has a deadline of three months to rule on the referendum outcome, imposed by the high turnout (albeit insufficient to make the result binding) which expires in February, Manolova has pointed out.

In her words, the deadline makes it mandatory for the current Parliament to adopt a stance, as after its dissolution there will be no legislature in place at least until April.

More than 2.5 million Bulgarians voted in favour of the first-past-the-post system in two rounds, saying "yes" to the question whether it should replace the current proportional representation system.

Another issue backed by voters was making elections and referenda compulsory, even though the former regime is in force since it became mandatory to vote last spring.

The third one, also supported by voters, was whether state subsidies handed out per parties per vote received in parliamentary elections should be reduce from BGN 11 to BGN 1.

"Lawmakers and parliamentary factions are supposed to have the dignity and courage to stand before the Bulgarian citizens and through their actions to show whether they will take the [referendum results] into account," Manolova has opined.

Her words come almost three months out of an early election which some say should be conducted under a new system, as suggested by the referendum.

But many experts have warned against the step, saying a careful decision has to be taken, with no rush to implement a new electoral system without considering the situation carefully and adopt the most suitable system.

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Tags: Maya Manolova, Referendum, Ombudsman, first-past-the-post
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