Bulgarian Referendum to Be Organized as General Election
The vote in the January 27, 2013, national referendum on development of atomic energy in Bulgaria will be organized in the same manner as any election.
The spokesperson of the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, Bisser Troyanov, explained at a press conference that the referendum will be held in adherence to the Election Code since the Act for Direct Participation of Citizens in the Rule of the State and in Local Rule was too "scarce" without any detailed regulations.
The voters will receive a white ballot with the question "Should atomic energy be developed in Bulgaria through the building of a new Atomic Plant?" There will be an option to choose "yes" or "no" by using a blue ink pen.
Anyone who had Bulgarian citizenship by the date of the Presidential decree for the scheduling of the referendum; has a permanent address in Bulgaria; is over the age of 18, and is not in detention or serving an effective sentence is eligible to vote.
There will be voting polls for Bulgarians abroad, but only at Embassies and Consular Offices. Troyanov noted that CEC is in the process of deciding on the rules under which the expats can state their desire to have a voting poll and apply their election rights.
The rule to have at least 20 applications, submitted by the deadline, is most likely going to apply, as it is for general and presidential elections. Troyanov, however, stressed it would be inadmissible to believe that every Embassy and Consular Office will have a voting poll.
He reminded that under current legislation in order to have a valid referendum at least 4 345 500 people must cast a ballot which is equal to the voter turnout at the last general election. A positive answer to the question of the referendum requires 50% of the vote plus 1 ballot.
The law takes into account not the number of the ballots cast, but the number of voters who had taken part in the last general election by appearing at voting polls and signing the voters' lists.
CEC will be in the role of a Central Electoral Committee in charge of holding a national referendum. The voters' lists will be generated by municipal administrations based on current data from the registers.
After counting the ballots, similarly to general elections, the district electoral commissions will report to the regional ones and they will send the data to CEC.
General election bans will apply to the referendum such as polling agencies announcing data on the day before the referendum and on the day of the referendum and campaigning on these two days.
The final ballot count and the summary of results will be done by a company to be selected through a public tender. The count is expected to be faster due to the fact people have to answer 1 question with "yes" or "no."
The referendum on atomic energy, excluding the local one on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil line, is the first since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. Before that national referendums have been held in 1922 – for the punishment of those responsible for the two national catastrophes; in 1946 – to change the rule of the country from monarchy to republic, and in 1971 for the so-called Zhivkov Constitution of Communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov.
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