Bulgaria Coalition Partners Agree to Reverse Some Changes to Election Rules

L to R: Valeri Simeonov, co-chair of the Patriotic Front, ABV deputy head Rumen Petkov, Reformist Bloc representative Borslav Velikov, and the other co-head of PF, Krasimir Karakachanov. Photo: BGNES

The leader of parties that form Bulgaria's government have backtracked on a set of amendments introduced to electoral legislation in the past days.

Their decision has been announced after a meeting with Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Parliament, hours before the beginning of a final vote on the Electoral Code.

Heads of parties that form or back Borisov's minority coalition have agreed to reverse two of the controversial decisions, namely a slash of the length of election campaigns to 21 from 30 days and a ban on the announcement of opinion poll results within that time.

A newly adopted rule which provides for clearing the electoral rolls from names of people who didn't cast a ballot in an election has been modified. Under the new agreement, an eligible voter's name will be removed only if the parson in question has not participated in two national elections of the same kind (presidential, general, etc).

Additionally, it will be the Bulgarian President that will decide whether referendums should be held simultaneously with elections.

A move by Parliament to remove the legal obligation for nationwide polls to take place together with a vote if the two are scheduled for the same year sparked outrage from popular TV host Slavi Trifonov as his six-point referendum on the political system would have to be held in the summer under the recently adopted rules. Trifonov argued MPs were trying to sabotage his referendum by reducing turnout as most voters will be on holiday at the time.

Compulsory voting, the introduction of which has sparked controversy in Bulgaria's society, will remain part of the new Electoral Code, leaders have agreed.

Political parties have failed to find common ground on a...

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