Bulgaria takes steps toward blocking ‘election tourism’
Bulgaria’s Parliament approved on June 17 the first reading of amendments to the Civil Registration Act intended to act against changes of address registrations intended to manipulate the outcome of forthcoming elections.
Mayoral and municipal elections are to be held in Bulgaria on October 25, with a run-off round later. Ahead of this, the first months of 2015 have large-scale changes of address, which media reports have highlighted as apparently intended to muster votes in areas required by certain political forces.
Not only small towns have been effected. Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv, whose centre-right GERB mayor Ivan Totev achieved a strong victory at the most recent municipal elections in 2009, has seen 7000 new address registrations.
Investigations at local level into the address changes have already begun.
The amendments approved by the National Assembly provide for check-ups of all address registrations made between February 1 and April 30 2015.
Entries found to be illegal will be annulled. The amendments provide for fines of 500 leva to 3000 leva (about 250 to 1500 euro).
The first reading was supported by 145 MPs, with three votes against and 11 abstentions.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)