Mandatory Voting Idea 'Cynical', Will Harm DPS - Lyutvi Mestan

Lyutvi Mestan warned against compulsory voting and hinted its introduction would be a move aimed at hurting the DPS. Photo by BGNES

Co-ruling Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS)'s leader Lyutvi Mestan described compulsory voting as a "cynical" idea that would bring harm to Bulgarian politics.

"Mandatory voting will hurt the DPS. It also hurt the political system and will not treat, but only deepen its defects," private channel bTV quoted Mestan as saying before entering Parliament Thursday.

He argued lawmakers are "most likely" to accept the proposal, which was made in a referendum petition as early as January but drew huge attention only last week after it was "revived" by Sergey Stanishev, head of the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

Mestan explained the adoption of mandatory voting was a probable development because "a very precious agreement among other political players" was in sight, but assured parties "their calculations are very flawed".

In his view, the argument that a government would be more legitimate if everyone casts a ballot is a "cynical" one, as voter turnout and political representation are more issues of the electorate's trust and should prompt reforms within the parties themselves.

Even though a number of parties have backed the idea of mandatory voting (with some politicians and experts arguing it would reduce what they call DPS's "excessive" influence), Stanishev's statement in favour of this measure has rather sparked controversy among lawmakers from across the political spectrum.

So far the only draft bill on mandatory voting officially introduced into Parliament has been put forward by independent (albeit Bulgaria Without Censorship-affiliated) MP Rumen Yonchev.

Other parties, like the opposition GERB, have backed the idea, but some of its members believe it should be put on a referendum, a move...

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