Bulgaria's Constitutional Court Reaffirms Election Outcome

Domestic | December 14, 2011, Wednesday // 16:30|  views

President-elect, Rosen Plevneliev (l), and Vice President-elect (r), Margarita Popova, say alleged elections violations were simply human error. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's Constitutional Court has overturned the request to recall the results from the October presidential election.

The information was announced Wednesday on the Court's official website.

The magistrates have made the decision unanimously.

Regarding alleged violations in the organization of voting polls and preparation of voters' lists, the Court ruled that even if they were present, they did not restrict voting rights of citizens.

One of the omissions, noted by the magistrates, is the fact the new Election Code failed to include rules on the capacity of voting polls in the light of local and presidential elections being held on the same day.

The Court established through examining evidence that indeed some polls had over 1 000 voters, but nevertheless the largest number of voters did not exceed 936 as it was in one section. Only abroad (Romania and Turkey), there were over 1 000 people coming to vote, but this had not been a violation of the law since in order to open a poll abroad there must be written requests from at least 100 people, meaning all others just showed up on election day.

The Court noted several oversights in the Code, regarding the work of the Central Electoral Commission, CEK, such as lack of set deadlines for CEK to give directions to local commissions, pointing out this was not CEK's fault.

According to the magistrates, CEK and local commissions have allowed poor organization and their members have been unprepared, but overall this had not led to vitiating the vote of Bulgarian citizens and the credibility of the announced election results.

Regarding voters being improperly taken out of the voters' lists, the magistrates point out that everyone had the opportunity to exercise their voting right by showing up at the voting poll for their permanent address with an ID document and be added to the list.

The claim to recall election results was submitted with the Court in mid-November with the signatures of 71 Members of the Parliament from the opposition parties – the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, and the far-right, nationalist Ataka. The grounds were listed on 18 pages and included violations of the election process, transparent ballots, vote buying, and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, being appointed Head of the election headquarters of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB.

Since evidence was not presented with the claim, the magistrates requested evidence from CEK and local commissions.

Last week President-elect, former Regional Minister, Rosen Plevneliev, and Vice President-elect, former Justice Minister, Margarita Popova, who ran on the GERB ballot, declared they saw nothing wrong with the way elections were organized, and labeled the alleged violations simple human error.

The two were constituted as parties in the case, along with the Parliament, the cabinet, Tsvetanov, the Chief Prosecutor, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Ombudsman, the Institute for Modern Policy, the Institute for Development of Public Environment, and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.

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Tags: Ataka, DPS, BSP, GERB, President-Elect, Rosen Plevneliev, Vice President-elect, Margarita Popova, election, violations, voting polls, voting rights, results, Constitutional Court, CEK, Election Code, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, vote buying, voters' lists


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