Bulgaria to Open up to 35 Polling Stations in Another Country for National Vote
Bulgaria will be able to open up to 35 polling stations in a foreign country, in locations in which at least 60 applications are submitted by expats willing to vote in Bulgarian national elections, the parliament has decided.
The change to the Electoral Code was passed on first reading in a 111-35 vote with 21 abstentions on Friday. It had been proposed by GERB party, the dominant partner in the minority coalition government led by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
The predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) vehemently opposed the change. DPS, which is the second largest opposition force in the current parliament, draws much of its support from Bulgarian citizens permanently residing in Turkey.
Under a decision of the Central Electoral Commission, a total of 136 polling stations were to open in Turkey for the last Bulgarian general election held in October 2014. This compared with 43 polling stations in the U.S., 41 in Spain, 40 in Britain, 20 in Germany, 15 in Greece and 11 in France.
In EU Member States, polling stations will open in Bulgarian embassies, consular offices and other locations, in which at least 60 voters have declared willingness to cast ballots.
The Central Electoral Commission will decide where to open polling stations in non-EU countries based on the same minimum of 60 voters willing to cast ballots at a certain location plus proposals from Bulgarian ambassadors and consular officials, who will have to take into account the distribution of Bulgarian expats across the country.
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