Bulgaria Parliament Inaugurates Biometric Voting System
Bulgarian parliamentary deputies have begun to use a newly-introduced biometric voting system. The system has gone into operation on Friday.
The prime purpose of the biometric system is to prevent the use of voting with someone else’s card, a practice that no previous National Assembly has managed to prevent.
Assembly Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva has described the new system as a success, although there have been some teething problems. However, opposition MPs have called the system degrading, resembling police methods.
Over the past several days, the MPs who had regularly attended parliamentary sessions had entered the system, providing biometric data from three fingers in order to sign in.
According to the detailed instructions issued, this would allow for three consecutive attempts to log in. In the event of recognition failure, the MP would be required to resort to voting in the traditional manner, by raising a hand, thus alerting the system operator in the chamber.
MP Ramadan Atalay of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party (DPS) expressed his opinion of the system.
"They took our fingerprints from three fingers. The system is no good, I do not know why they introduced it, but if it was to humiliate the MPs, they succeeded - to count you up every morning, to pass through a barrier as some sort of animals that are taken to be sheared, then to sit in your place and every day to know that they are taking your fingerprints, I think you would not enjoy that either."
Lyuben Kornezov of the leftist Coalition for Bulgaria said: "Of course it is humiliating. This is a Parliament. As you enter the parliament you should check in, then when you leave you have to check out, inside - it's fingerprints, as though we are criminals.
He added: "I don't want to come to work. In parliament, there should be creativity, discussion, exchange of views, and instead, it's - with which finger should you register and not register? This is military, police work".
In her reaction, Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva stated: "If some of them feel this way, then their perception speaks of enforcement of a law standard. This is not unprecedented, as a number of national assemblies vote in this way. There is no difficulty whatsoever for any of the deputies, so I think it started successfully".
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