Bulgaria to hold early parliamentary elections on April 2

Bulgarian head of state President Roumen Radev said on January 24 that the country would hold early parliamentary elections on April 2.

The current National Assembly will be dissolved as of February 3.

This follows the failure of the third and final attempt to get a government elected after the October 2 2022 early parliamentary elections.

The April 2 2023 early parliamentary elections will be the fifth time in three years that Bulgaria elects a legislature.

Radev decided on the date after consulting the Central Election Commission (CEC).

Earlier on January 24, CEC head Kamelia Neikova told Parliament at a special hearing that April 2 was the earliest possible date for the elections.

Neikova said that it would “practically not be possible” to have available the required number of paper ballots for the elections to be held on another date that had been mooted, March 26.

In December 2022, with the backing of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, GERB-UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Parliament voted to restore a system of offering voters a choice between paper ballots and voting machines, rather than exclusively using voting machines. The Electoral Code amendments backed by these three groups were widely criticised as being passed out of political self-interest and have complicated preparations for the early elections.

At a meeting in the Cabinet office on January 25, the technical provision of video surveillance during the counting of ballots will be discussed.

The CEC has recalculated the mandates from the individual electoral districts based on the data from the 2021 national census, Neikova said.

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