Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said on February 26 that he would veto parts of the new Electoral Code, approved by Parliament last week.
Plevneliev said that the new electoral law held provisions that would “improve the regulations of the electoral process”, but also fell short of “achieving stable regulations that would reflect the public expectations and the commitment declared by the government in this area.”
“Some of the most relevant issues at the heart of public debate are left without regulation, while in others – such as the prospect of introducing electronic voting – one can note a retreat from previous achievements, as even the prospect of an experimental run is removed,” Plevneliev said in a statement.
“A number of sensitive issues remain unresolved – such as electoral lists and giving citizens the effective opportunity to vote for individuals,” he said.
Plevneliev said that by returning the bill to Parliament, he was giving MPs “an opportunity to improve the regulations of the electoral process”. He said that the exact provisions vetoed and the legal grounds will be published soon.
The ruling axis in Parliament has routinely had little difficulty overturning the presidential veto (as it did earlier in the day on February 26) – failing to do so only once, when several MPs from the ruling coalition were absent and ultra-nationalist party Ataka decided to vote against the motion to overturn.
But the Electoral Code has also caused some tension within the ruling axis, with the socialists and the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) occasionally on opposite sides of the protracted debates that lasted more than a week.
The socialists have already said that they would seek to override the veto should Plevneliev exercise his right, whatever the grounds, but it remains unclear whether the party will have the necessary support in the National Assembly to do so.