Bulgaria's National Assembly on Thursday voted, 117-8 with 107 abstentions, to amend the Election Code, lifting the limit of 35 voting sections for non-EU countries. The vote was retaken on a motion by GERB-UDF.
In another revision, the legislature resolved that voting sections will be established abroad if not fewer than 40 voters have submitted an application (down from 60 before), regardless of whether Bulgaria has a diplomatic mission or consular post there.
Sections may also be established in the places where at least one voting section has been established for elections held up to five years before polling day and not fewer than 100 people have voted there.
Just as before, voting sections for European Parliament elections will be limited to EU Member States.
The heads of diplomatic missions and consular posts must approach the Central Election Commission with a reasoned proposal for the establishment of voting sections not later than 22 days in advance of polling day.
During the debate, those in favour of lifting the limit argued that this will ease voting for Bulgarian citizens in the UK, the US, Canada and other countries. Those against the amendment were apprehensive that the Movement for Rights and Freedoms will unfairly benefit from it when voting takes place in Turkey.