Bulgarian President resumes campaign for referendum on electoral system

Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev is to send Parliament a request for the holding of a referendum on the country’s electoral system – formally resuming a campaign that was defeated in the previous parliament.

Plevneliev tabled a request in the now-departed 42nd National Assembly for a referendum on issues including compulsory voting, electronic voting and a majoritarian element to the electoral system, but this was blocked by the then-ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

In an interview published by mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa, Plevneliev was reported to have confirmed that his proposal was similar to the one he had made previously, to hold the referendum simultaneously with scheduled elections – in the case of 2015, the municipal elections to be held in the autumn.

On February 23, Plevneliev began a round of political consultations to which he invited, by turns, all parties represented in the 43rd National Assembly.

Plevneliev initiated a “month of political consultations” practice in early 2012, soon after taking office as head of state. The idea was to build consensus on all-party basis about certain issues of long-term national interest.

However, Bulgaria’s political turbulence of 2013/14 saw Plevneliev holding several consultations as he sought to keep the country on an even keel and as he twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, had to put together caretaker administrations pending the respective early parliamentary elections.

Plevneliev’s 2015 round of consultations began with talks on the morning of February 23 with ABC, the socialist breakaway minority party that is one of the two smallest in the current Parliament. The consultations will conclude with talks with the largest party and holder of the mandate to govern, Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB.

According to the President’s office, the topics to be covered in the consultations are key reforms on the agenda in 2015, referendum and election legislation, international and regional security, defence and armed forces, and crises and natural disasters.



The Sofia Globe staff

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