Bulgaria Expats 'to Take Part in Election Rules Referendum'

Politics » DOMESTIC | June 1, 2015, Monday // 07:50
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Expats 'to Take Part in Election Rules Referendum' Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has vowed to trigger a referendum to boost direct democracy. Photo by BGNES

Expats will be able to cast ballots in the voting rules referendum that is due this autumn, since it will coincide with local elections, an MP has said.

Legal amendments in the coming weeks will ensure that the referendum itself will be organized by those electoral commissions who are normally in charge of preparing the local vote, Danail Kirilov, a lawmaker who heads the Legal Affairs Committee in Parliament, has told daily Standart.

Alongside with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, an Initiative Committee has been seeking to trigger a national poll on voting rules since January of last year.

In January 2014, Plevneliev said in an address to the nation Bulgarian citizens should have a say on the introduction of a majority system in general elections (applied for half of the MPs), compulsory voting, and e-voting.

A petition was immediately launched by Prof Georgi Bliznashki, a university lecturer and former member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) who months after his move became caretaker PM after the BSP-led administration stepped down in July.

His petition collected more than 500 000 signatures, but the then socialist cabinet refused to allow a referendum, explaining part of the signatures were void.

Kirilov is now quoted as saying this autumn citizens will be offered the same questions.

Under current arrangements, the most likely date for the local vote (and the referendum) is October 25, though it is yet to be confirmed.

President Plevneliev is expected to officially submit the same referendum proposal sometime early this month.

In March, in an address to Parliament he confirmed his determination to use his constitutional right and start the referendum, saying  "direct democracy will involve to a bigger extent the nation's will" and could "boost the multi-party system".

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, Danail Kirilov, Georgi Bliznashki, BSP, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Referendum, voting rules, compulsory voting, majority system, local elections
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