Bulgaria's DPS Urges Debates over Preferential Voting

Lyutvi Mestan (C), the DPS's leader, had long resisted the introduction of preferential voting before it was enforced through the 2014 Election Code. Photo by BGNES

DPS leader Lyutvi Mestan ha called on politicians to start a debate on whether and how to keep the recently-introduced preference-voting system in the national legislation preventing any risk of abuse.

Mestan heads Bulgaria's third-largest party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), dominated by ethnic Turks.

"If there is political will for preferential voting to continue... very serious amendments are necessary within the Election Code... to overcome the risk for the ballots of a single family in a given village to make changes in national election lists," Mestan warned as quoted by the Bulgarian National Radio.

Preference voting had its first test during European Parliament elections in May this year and was first used in a national vote in October 5's snap poll.

DPS's members had however agreed not to avail of the preference tool and not to set up a campaign encouraging voters to do so.

The party expelled two lawmakers from its parliament group last week, since they had been elected with preference and had thus secured seats in Parliament instead of two other key party officials who had been tipped to enter.

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