Bulgaria’s National Assembly appointed on March 20 the new leadership of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), which will be taking office with just two months left until the country holds European Parliament elections on May 26.
Under Bulgarian law, the five senior positions in the CEC – the chairperson, three deputies and the secretary – require a confirmation vote by Parliament, but the rest of its members are appointed directly by the President, at the nomination of parliamentary political parties.
MPs approved the appointment of Stefka Stoeva, who was most recently a constitutional court judge until her nine-year term ended in November 2018, as the new head of the electoral body. Stoeva, nominated by senior partner in the government coalition GERB, was the only candidate for the position.
The other four positions filled by Parliament were deputy chairpersons Silva Dyukendjieva (nominated by the opposition socialists), Tanya Iosifova (from one of the parties in the United Patriots group that is the junior government coalition partner) and Kristina Stefanova (nominated by the smallest party in Parliament, Volya). Parliament also appointed Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) nominee Sevinc Solakova for another term as CEC secretary.
The five appointees will take office on March 21 and GERB MP Danail Kirilov, head of the National Assembly’s legal affairs committee, urged President Roumen Radev to appoint the rest of the CEC starting on the same date, so that the electoral body can begin work right away.
In total, Radev has to appoint 15 members – six for GERB, five for the socialists, one each for United Patriots and MRF, as well as two nominees put forward by parties outside the current National Assembly that currently have elected MEPs (Katya Ivanova was nominated by Bulgaria Without Censorship and Ivailo Ivkov by the Reformist Bloc.)
(Bulgarian Parliament photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)