Bulgaria is heading for Quick Elections in the Fall with Paper Ballots

Politics | June 17, 2022, Friday // 22:04
Bulgaria: Bulgaria is heading for Quick Elections in the Fall with Paper Ballots

The next parliamentary elections will take place in September or October and there will be paper ballot voting, in addition to the machine ballot. This is the most probable scenario in which the events will unfold, according to OFFNews sources and public statements by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, coalition partner Hristo Ivanov and MPs from all political forces.

“There Is Such a People” tore down the cabinet

This came after a new majority was formed in parliament between GERB, “There Is Such a People” (TISP), the “Movement For Rights and Freedoms” (DPS) and “Vazrazhdane,” all of which united to oust Parliament Speaker Nikola Minchev which is a member of “We Continue the Change”. GERB, on the other hand, submitted a vote of no confidence against Kiril Petkov's cabinet, which will be debated on Tuesday, and judging by the new configuration, created on the principle "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", will be approved. Voting must take place at least 24 hours after the end of the debate.

The vote for Minchev's resignation showed that "We Continue the Change" (WCC), the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), "Democratic Bulgaria", together with several deputies who fled from Slavi Trifonov’s party (TISP), collected a total of 113 votes. They need 121 to survive the cabinet. Although today the TISP parliamentary group was left by Kiril Simeonov, it would be a miracle to secure 8 more votes by next week.

What’s next

After the National Assembly votes no confidence in the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister resigns from the government. Then the president must again give the first political force a mandate to form the government, and then the mandate to be given to the second (GERB) or third force, not necessarily in size. If none of the parties succeeds in forming a cabinet, President Rumen Radev must schedule elections for a new National Assembly "no later than two months after the previous one's term ends." Between the first and after the second term, the Constitution provides for a week, and for the third - there is no norm.

Radev does not want elections in the winter

According to OFFNews sources, President Rumen Radev does not want elections in the winter and wants to schedule a vote as early as possible - on September 25 or October 2.

There are rumors that the "new coalition" will form a Berov-type cabinet so that changes can be made to the Electoral Code, such as the return of paper ballots, for which BSP and GERB have submitted projects. GERB claims that they do not have such an intention, and changes in the code can be made at a time when the cabinet will resign and before it is dissolved. "We neither want nor can form a cabinet in this parliament," said sources from GERB. They added that GERB had nothing to do with "this break-up" and was even surprised by the withdrawal of TISP ministers from the cabinet, although the rupture had been clear since last month. In order to remain proactive and not run after the events, GERB requested a vote of no confidence and submitted the project for the return of the paper ballots, which was done only on June 14.

Electoral abuses or low turnout

A little more than two months ago, a similar bill was introduced by BSP, but so far it has not been considered in the hall or in the parliamentary committee on constitutional and legal issues. The reason is the disapproval of the coalition partners, who do not agree with the return of the paper ballots. The “left” motivates its proposal with the decline in turnout, which deputies say was due to the machine vote.

There are other changes in the GERB bill. It is proposed to check the paper receipts from the machines and the protocol from the machines when reporting the results after the end of the election day, and in case of discrepancies the receipts will be accepted as valid. This means that if some receipts disappear from the ballot boxes, these votes will not be taken into account, although the data are in the machine's protocol.

“Democratic Bulgaria” and “We Continue the Change” believe that these changes open the door to electoral abuses and controlled voting.

DPS also approves the return of the paper. However, GERB, BSP and DPS have 119 deputies and they will need two more votes from "Vazrazhdane" or TISP, which has already been agreed on.

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