Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court ruled against a challenge to declare the results of the May 12 2013 parliamentary elections void, the second such suit lodged in the after this year’s elections.
The court merged two separate challenges – one asking for voiding the results of the vote in 86 polling stations in Turkey and one asking annulment of the results in Bulgaria.
Shortly after the elections were held, Bulgaria’s largest opposition party GERB – which won the largest share of the vote, but not enough to govern on its own – submitted the challenges, claiming a long list of electoral law violations, including insufficient ballots, mistakes and illegal corrections to vote-tally protocols by local election officials and illegal campaigning on the “day of contemplation” before Election Day.
The court ruled that there was insufficient proof of the claims to annul the results of the vote at 86 polling stations in Turkey or the ones in Bulgaria.
In another case, also put forth by GERB, the court ruled in July that while no campaigning to support a party was allowed on the “day of contemplation”, the existing election legislation did not ban campaigning against one.
The challenge against the election results was significant in that, traditionally, votes cast in Bulgaria’s neighbour have tended overwhelmingly to go to the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). In May, MRF received 49 per cent of all votes cast at polling stations outside Bulgaria, a sharp drop from the 61 per cent it received at the 2009 parliamentary elections.
Bulgaria’s ruling axis, which comprises the socialists and the MRF, has 120 MPs in the 240-seat Parliament. Over the past six months, the ruling coalition has often required the support of ultra-nationalist party Ataka to meet Parliamentary quorum – the possible loss of even on MP would severely weaken the coalition’s ability to thwart efforts to bring down the Cabinet (with 120 MPs of its own, the coalition can defeat motions of no confidence, which require 121 votes to pass.)
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)