Bulgaria Might Have to Print Local Vote Ballot Papers in Romania

Domestic | May 27, 2015, Wednesday // 07:28|  views

Bulgaria is facing a shortage of ballots for this autumn's local vote to be held across the country, officials have warned.

The printing house with the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) and the others licensed to print ballots will not be able to provide enough papers for the elections, and only 8-9 million will be available.

Bulgaria has a population of roughly 7 million, but will need much more under electoral law, and also due to the fact that voters will have to pick municipal councilors as well.

As a result, an MP from junior coalition partner Reformist Bloc told private national bTV station on Tuesday that the government would also look into options to print the additional number of ballots needed in neighboring Romania.

Other parties, including the socialist opposition BSP, however, raised fears this might violate electoral law or harm national security.

Maya Manolova, a socialist lawmaker and ex-Deputy Parliament Speakers, told journalists that the ruling axis might be seeking to justify future amendments to the Election Code. Electoral legislation was last changed by the previous elected government of socialist BSP and liberal DPS, with Manolova being the driving force behind the legislation.

Other scenarios include granting other print houses in Bulgaria the permit to print ballot papers or new changes to the code that would allow print houses with no permits to do the same.

Manolova for her part supports some of the measures as a last resort, even though they would hurt "national pride". She slammed at the governing GERB party of PM Boyko Borisov for failing to settle the matter earlier in 2015, not just months before the vote.

It was Manolova who played a major role in the so-called Kostinbrod affair, with Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, socialists and a private TV station revealing an alleged plan of GERB to print some 350 000 "illegal ballots" to manipulate election results. This is what imposed restrictions on granting licenses to print houses to control potential cases of vote rigging.

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Tags: Maya Manolova, Kostinbrod affair, BSP, Boyko Borisov, GERB, ballots, papers, Romania, Reformist Bloc, DPS, Manolova, Borisov


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