Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev has issued a strongly-worded statement hitting out at “underhand scenarios” regarding the draft election law.
Plevneliev’s February 12 statement followed comments in media reports and on social networks highlighting a clause in the transitional and final provisions on the election code that appear to suggest that presidential elections could be held simultaneously with Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections in May 2014.
Presidential elections are due in 2016. Plevneliev, head of state after his election in 2011 on the ticket of centre-right party GERB, is a deeply resented figure among the current ruling axis in which the Bulgarian Socialist Party has held the mandate to govern since May 2013.
The new election code is being pushed through Parliament by the BSP.
Plevneliev’s statement referred to provisions including a clause, “When elections are held for MEPs from the Republic of Bulgaria in 2014 alongside elections for President and Vice President and elections for MPs, the regions for organisational and technical preparation of the elections for MEPs from the Republic of Bulgaria and [the regions for organisational and technical preparation of the] elections for President and Vice President coincide with the electoral districts for elections for Mps”.
Plevneliev said that “ideas and plans of secret laboratories for political engineering have found their way for another time in a row in a draft bill”.
He said that the draft elections code had again made the topic of the day “some of the worst flaws of the Bulgarian political system”.
While the authorities had said that the bill was prepared in the most public and transparent way and with the participation of civil society, the draft contained texts for which no one could explain the motives, nor who had included them in the draft bill.
“It is even more worrying that publicly and without the slightest concern, it is being demonstrated before civil society that last autumn, when Bulgarian citizens took to the streets and called for morality in politics, someone somewhere in the dark had secret plans.
“Moreover, sending the draft bill to the Venice Commission with the explicit stipulation in it that presidential elections are planned in 2014, presents in its essence an attempt at seeking international legitimacy for this plan.”
Plevneliev said that what was even more worrying was the “sequence of coincidences” in addition to the passage in the code, “and in which, unfortunately, apart from political organisations and media oligarchs, state institutions are involved.
“I call on all democratically-minded Bulgarians to join me in opposing underhand scenarios,” Plevneliev said.