Electoral Code: Nationalists Ready to Backtrack on Curbs to Voting Abroad

Domestic | May 10, 2016, Tuesday // 14:02|  views

Patriotic Front co-leaders, Valeri Simeonov (L) and Krasimir Karakachanov. File photo, BGNES

The co-heads of the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, which backs Bulgaria's minority government, have said they are inclined to understand the President's veto on a key text in electoral legislation.

The development comes as a meeting is being held on Tuesday of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the leaders of several parties.

MPs passed in April amendments to the Electoral Code introducing restrictions to the number of polling stations for Bulgarians outside the country. The changes were tabled (albeit in a much more restrictive version) by the Patriotic Front, which said the move would reduce the impact of ill-regulated mass voting by Bulgarian expats in Turkey.

President Rosen Plevneliev, however, returned the text to Parliament for consideration as, he said, it infringed on the rights of some Bulgarians living abroad.

News website Dnevnik.bg reports the co-chairs of PF, Valeri Simeonov and Krasimir Karakachanov, as saying they were ready to remove the cap on the number of polling stations and restrictions on location for the territory of the European Union. In practice, their position could lead to the reintroduction the old rules that were amended in April.

Under the text approved by MPs, polling stations for Bulgarian elections in non-EU countries could only be opened in cities with a population bigger than a million with no diplomatic mission present. Additionally, at least 100 people living in or near the respective places hould demand the step.

Non-EU countries such as the US, Russia and Turkey have so far been the bone of contention among lawmakers.

However, the Patriotic Front sayd it is determined to stay in the government and to concede ground in the name of political stability, even though it would not support the veto.  

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, Valeri Simeonov, Krasimir Karakachanov, Boyko Borisov, polling stations, expats, turkey, Patriotic Front, electoral code, election law


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