Bulgarian parliament schedules presidential elections for November 6

By bne IntelliNews July 29, 2016

The Bulgarian parliament has scheduled the presidential elections for November 6, Dnevnik daily reported on July 29. The date was proposed by the ruling centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB).

The assembly did not accept the proposals of the opposition predominantly ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) and opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which wanted to schedule the vote for October 30 and October 23 respectively.

On May 20, incumbent President Rosen Plevneliev announced that he will not seek a second five-year term this autumn. He said he made the decision for personal reasons.

The first announcement of candidates for president and vice president, coming from parties represented in the parliament, was made on July 29 as well. The presidential candidate is Krassimir Karakachanov, leader of VMRO, one of the two parties in the nationalist Patriotic Front, which usually supports the government. The vice presidential candidate is Yavor Notev from the opposition nationalist party Ataka.

A national referendum, initiated by the popular TV show “Slavi’s Show”, will be held simultaneously with the presidential elections. However, the referendum will ask only three questions (out of six proposed), because on July 28 the Constitutional Court decided that the other three contradict the Constitution. The court was approached by Plevneliev.

The removed questions concern halving the number of lawmakers, support for remote electronic voting, and introducing the election of senior police officials. The questions that will be asked on November 6 concern the introduction of the majority electoral system, the introduction of mandatory voting, as well as setting the annual state subsidies for political parties and coalitions at BGN1 (€0.51) per valid vote received at the last general elections.

On July 29, the parliament rejected another national referendum initiative, from businessman Vesselin Mareshki, which was advertised as intended to stop monopolies and cartels. The number of citizens who supported the initiative fell 2,644 short of the threshold of 400,000. Passing the threshold would have resulted in the direct scheduling of the referendum.

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