Bulgarian MPs overturn President’s veto on Electoral Code amendments

Bulgaria’s National Assembly voted on October 8 to overturn President Roumen Radev’s veto on amendments to the Electoral Code, passed by Parliament last month. The motion passed by 124 MPs in favour to 89 opposed and no abstentions.

In a televised address announcing his veto, Radev accused the parties in the governing coalition of attempting to “guarantee a win by default in the coming elections, dealing yet another blow to the legal construction of the state.”

In the veto motives, made public by the presidency, he argued that the provisions allowing both machine voting and casting paper ballots in the same electoral precinct would undermine the former and complicate the election process.

Radev also criticised Parliament, saying that it had failed to outline a detailed framework for how machine voting is to be carried out, but also for approving provisions meant to streamline voting results protocols.

Bulgaria’s constitution grants the head of state a limited power of veto, through enabling the President to return legislation to the National Assembly for further discussion. The National Assembly may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.

Since taking office in January 2017, Radev made liberal use of this power. This was his 24th vetoed bill, with Parliament overturning the veto in all but two cases, when the provisions in question were withdrawn.

On several occasions, Radev has followed through with a Constitutional Court challenge, where he has been more successful in blocking legislation.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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