Lengthy hours were consumed in debate on the second reading in Parliament of the Bulgarian Socialist Party-driven draft new elections bill, as the ruling axis rejected proposed amendments that would have enabled compulsory voting and electronic voting.
Under the leadership of socialist MP Maya Manolova, the process of finalising the new election code has been a messy one, as the parties in power seem determined to get new rules in place before the May 2014 European Parliament elections.
As the second-reading debate started in the National Assembly on February 12, MPs for centre-right opposition party GERB sought an immediate adjournment, on the grounds that they had not been presented with the full text of the bill.
This was rejected, with socialist Speaker Mihail Mikov saying that it was not unprecedented to vote on the provisions of legislation piecemeal.
GERB MP Dimitar Lazarov said that the bill amounted to nothing more than “a little Botox, a little silicone” in seeking to change the legislation, to which Manolova countered that the previous legislation – approved when GERB was in government – was so objectionable that it had to be cut out and replaced entirely.
Also rejected was a proposed amendment by ultra-nationalist Ataka member Pavel Shopov calling for Bulgarians with dual citizenship to be barred from voting or standing in elections.
(Photo of Manolova: bsp.bg)