Bulgaria's Presidential Runners to Undergo Residence Probes

Domestic | September 17, 2011, Saturday // 11:39|  views

CEC Spokesperson Ralitsa Negentsova has expressed confidence that the checks ordered into the presidential candidates' 2006-2011 residence can be conducted as prescribed. Photo by actualno.com

Bulgaria's Central Election Commission (CEC) has issued a decision requesting a check of all presidential candidates' eligibility in terms of the residence requirement.

The task, however, is impossible because the Civil Registration and Administrative Services Department, which is supposed to conduct the probes, does not have access to the required data.

The administrative unit only stores civil registration records of the population and does not receive information about citizens travelling abroad.

Data concerning the number of trips abroad and the length of stay cannot be collected, especially for the period after Bulgaria's accession to the EU.

"We have stated clearly what information we require in the decision. Under Bulgaria's Election Code, the Civil Registration and Administrative Services unit is responsible for conducting the probes. I Am sure that the colleagues from the department will do everything possible", said CEC Spokesperson Ralitsa Negentsova, responding to a question why a department of the Regional Development and Public Works Ministry was supposed to provide data which falls within the competence of the Interior Ministry.

In these circumstances, the only proof of the candidates' residence is the declaration submitted upon their registration.

Anybody who disagrees with the written statement has the burden of proof.

Under Bulgarian legislation, presidential candidates must have spent over 183 days in Bulgaria in each of the five years preceding October 23, 2011.

Upon the inclusion of the residence requirement into Bulgaria's new Election Code, approved by ruling center-right party GERB, experts said the step was aimed at obstructing Former EU Commissioner and independent presidential runner Meglena Kuneva, whose term in office in Brussels raised a question mark over her eligibility.

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Tags: Ralitsa Negentsova, Central Election Commission, CEC, presidential candidate, Presidential elections, GERB, Meglena Kuneva, Election Code


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