Bulgaria’s President: ‘Two-in-one’ elections possible

Holding the presidential and the next early parliamentary elections on the same day is possible, but only if there is financial and logistical support from the government, President Roumen Radev said on September 8 after meeting the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Radev consulted the CEC on issues related to the holding of elections after the process of attempting to propose a government that could be elected by the current National Assembly proved fruitless, meaning that Bulgaria will hold its third parliamentary elections this year.

The National Assembly has voted November 14 as the date of the presidential election, with a second round on November 21 if no candidate gets more than 50 per cent of the vote at the first round. The constitution places in the hands of the President the power to decree the date of parliamentary elections.

Speaking at the meeting with the CEC, Radev said that Bulgarians had built up “significant electoral fatigue”.

“In addition, we must take into account the fact that the National Assembly has set the last possible date for the presidential election. The mandate returned yesterday narrows the possibilities for manoeuvring in the time for determining the parliamentary elections as well. That is why society is talking more and more about two-in-one elections,” Radev said.

CEC head Kamelia Neikova said that whatever the President decided, the CEC would deal with either scenario – separate or “two-in-one” elections.

Neikova said that from a technological point of view, it would be good to have two weeks between the two types of elections, if they were held separately.

There must be a minimum of two weeks between elections in order for the CEC to organise its work, because the voting machines must be reset if the elections are to be on different days.

Neikova said that if the “two-in-one” option is chosen, a further 1500 to 2000 voting machines will have to be bought. Further, the commission’s salaries would be higher in a “two-in-one” vote, she said.

However, if the elections are “two-in-one”, some costs would be optimised and logistics would have to be performed only once, according to the commission.

No test had yet been done using one voting machine for two types of elections, but this would be done, Neikova said.

She said that this time, the public awareness campaign about the elections would start much earlier than it did ahead of Bulgaria’s July early parliamentary elections.

(Photo of Radev: president.bg)

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