Bulgarian President Radev decrees April 4 date for parliamentary elections
Bulgarian head of state President Roumen Radev said on January 14 that he has signed a decree that the country will hold parliamentary elections on April 4 2021.
In a televised address, Radev said that “none the institutions responsible [for holding elections] has taken appropriate legislative and organisational measures to prepare for elections” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
He called for changes to the country’s Electoral Code, saying that the amendments should go further than merely making arrangements that would allow people under quarantine to vote.
“I expect the legislature to look at and vote on other proposals, such as postal voting for voters abroad, who in a number of countries would be impeded or find it impossible to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” Radev said.
He also called for the law to be changed to introduce video surveillance of voting precincts and live broadcasting of ballot counts, eliminating manual counts of machine votes and “fair access to media for everyone in electoral campaign.”
Radev pre-emptively dismissed possible criticism that the Electoral Code should not be amended so close to the election date, saying that Parliament had pushed such changes before, “when it was in its interest.”
He also called on the Central Election Commission to give access to “all political subjects and civic groups” that wish to participate in the process of certifying and testing the voting machines, carry out a public information campaign about machine voting, as well as update voter lists.
Radev said that all those steps required time and “full mobilisation” of the state institutions, which is why he set the election date for April 4, one week after the earliest date possible. He had previously indicated he was leaning towards setting the election date for March 28.
“This week should be utilised in full. I expect all institutions that loudly declared their readiness […] to work in such a way as to guarantee the health and right to vote of every Bulgarian citizen and, no less important, persuade them that their votes have been correctly tallied,” he said.
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