Bulgaria MPs Pass Bill Allowing Expats to Vote in Referendums
Bulgarian lawmakers on Friday passed amendments to grant Bulgarians living abroad the right to vote in referendums held in the country.
This will enable hundreds of thousands of people who chose to live beyond Bulgaria's borders to have their say in the national poll that is due in the autumn, in parallel with local elections on October 25.
Changes adopted Friday also assign to municipal electoral commission, which are normally in charge of organizing local elections, the task of preparing the referendum.
They stipulate that the head of state, who under the Constitution has the authority to call in national polls, must set for them the same date for which general elections are scheduled, in case elections are coming a year on from the official decision that a referendum should be held (it is up to Parliament to decide).
The forthcoming poll will offer citizens the option to have a say on voting rules, with three issues tabled: the partial introduction of a majority system, making it compulsory to vote, and the implementation of e-voting.
The first two questions have sparked much controversy, with opposition parties disputing the wording.
Liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), the third-largest electoral force, even proposed that the question on mandatory voting be changed so that people are asked on the introduction of a full majority system.
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