Bulgarian MPs pass Electoral Code amendments on preferential voting
Bulgaria’s Parliament voted on March 27 to pass at second reading amendments to the country’s Electoral Code on validity thresholds on preferential voting, restoring the status quo changed by a previous bill passed by MPs last month.
The earlier amendments, passed in a marathon 14-hour sitting on February 14, stated that preferential votes would only apply if the candidate in question receives as many preferential votes as the number required to win an MP seat in their particular electoral district (or the nation-wide minimum required to win an MEP seat in European Parliament elections.)
That new validity threshold was seen as virtually impossible to attain, causing a strong backlash that prompted the senior partner in the government coalition, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB, to backslide on its support for the raised thresholds.
Parliament later overturned a presidential veto on some Electoral Code amendments, which covered several provisions of the bill, including the higher preferential voting thresholds.
Instead, MPs for GERB tabled a new bill to re-instate the previous thresholds. One proposed amendment to restore preferential voting thresholds in national elections but keep the new higher thresholds in local elections was rejected, with the result that the status quo threshold is to be restored for local elections as well.
(Bulgarian Parliament bulding photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)