Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission approves 18 parties, seven coalitions for October elections

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has accepted the applications of seven coalitions and 18 parties to stand in the country’s early parliamentary elections on October 5 2014.

The CEC turned down the applications of four parties, either because the applicants lacked the number of signatures required or for shortcomings.

The parties that were refused registration included two that submitted applications under the name of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the Other Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Workers Peasant Party.

Parties and coalitions have until September 2 to submit written notification of their candidate lists. By the same date, nomination committees may put forward independent candidates.

Nomination committees must be made up of votes with a permanent address registered in the area and name a person to represent them. The committees have until August 25 to register.

The CEC also issued a reminder of the Data Protection Act, against a background of a number of alleged abuses by various parties ahead of Bulgaria’s May 2014 European Parliament elections, involving the use of individual’s personal data without their knowledge and consent.

On August 25, municipal administrations are to publish the preliminary voters’ rolls.

The CEC said that every person eligible to vote would be able to check whether they had been included on the voters roll and if their names had been omitted, to submit applications to be included.

In other Bulgarian political news:

* Caretaker Interior Minister Yordan Bakalov “declared war” on vote-buyers, telling Nova Televizia that the first case ahead of Bulgaria’s October 5 parliamentary elections already had been reported.

Bakalov declined to give further details. He said that his most important task was to ensure that the elections were conducted fairly. Bakalov underlined that the approach against vote-buying would be unrelenting, irrespective of which party was involved.

* Centre-right GERB party leader Boiko Borissov said that God should grant that after October 5, Bulgaria would have a stable government to solve the country’s problems: “Otherwise the winter would just be a disaster”.

Borissov said that in a year and two months, the now-departed government had out of populism pushed down the price of electricity, indebted the National Electricity Company by more than three million leva, and undertaken foolish contracts – for the building of the seventh unit of Kozloduy nuclear power station with Westinghouse.

He said that at the time GERB was in power, the state had earned 190 million leva from taxes alone.

Referring to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Borissov said, “what will they offer their voters if they come to power? To open Belene (nuclear power station project)? In a year and two months, they did not. To start South Stream? Oresharski and Stoynev (prime minister and energy minister in the now-departed cabinet, respectively) said that they stopped it. To do the seventh unit at Kozloduy nuclear power plant? With what money?”

Borissov said that people appreciated what GERB had done in government, but regrettably all projects had been stopped and all programmes halted. He said that hoped that the caretaker government could quickly begin to revive them.

* The Bulgarian Socialist Party would arrange public protests unless the caretaker cabinet stopped firing officials, former BSP MP Maya Manolova said on August 23.

Manolova was referring to the caretaker government, since taking office in early August, having undone a number of appointments made during the time of the BSP cabinet.

She claimed that those dismissed by the caretaker cabinet were “proven professionals” who had now been replaced by GERB people.

The caretaker cabinet should be neutral but was carrying out an “appalling political purge” and restoration of GERB people to appointments at all levels, including ministries, agencies and regional bodies.

The election was a month and a half away, but GERB people were already in power, Manolova said, “warning” caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki that the next time “specialists” were fired to be replaced by GERB people, “we will go to protect them, we will come out to protest”.

* The centre-right Reformist Bloc, formed in 2013 after the May elections and which won one of the 17 MEP seats in Bulgaria’s May 2014 European Parliament elections, will elect a president on September 13.

The bloc, made up of a number of centre-right and right-wing parties, has not until now had an official leader.

Reports said that so far there were two candidates for the leadership of the Reformist Bloc, Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria leader Radan Kanev and Union of Democratic Forces leader Bozhidar Lukarski.

It is expected that the Bulgaria for Citizens movement, founded around former European Commissioner Meglena Kouneva, also will put forward a candidate for the leadership of the Reformist Bloc.

* The Central Election Commission (CEC) sent out an order in early August to regional governors of several area to remove billboards put up by the populist minority Bulgaria Without Censorship (BWC) party, local media reports said.

The billboards depict BWC leader, former talk show host Nikolai Barekov, and the words “Bulgaria Without Censorship and without GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms”.

The CEC said that the BWC billboards were illegal because they had been put up outside the official election campaign period, which starts on September 5. The fine for breaking the law in this way is from 1000 to 3000 leva and from 3000 to 10 000 leva for second and further offences.




The Sofia Globe staff

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