President to Seek Referendum on Changes to Electoral Legislation
Thursday, 30 January 2014
President Rosen Plevneliev said on Wednesday he will ask parliament to call a national referendum on changes to the country's electoral legislation.
In an address to the nation broadcast live by the Bulgarian National Television, Plevneliev said he will propose to the National Assembly to call a referendum, asking voters the following three questions: Do you support electing part of the members of parliament through a majority vote? Do you support a compulsory vote in elections and national referenda? Do you support remote electronic voting in elections and referenda?
Last week, parliament adopted at first reading the draft of a new Election Code, moved by the Socialists' Coalition for Bulgaria, which would see the introduction of preferential voting for a National Assembly as well as voting machines.
"I call on the members of parliament to take a decision to hold a plebiscite on these issues, which, I believe, will help stabilise the institutions in Bulgaria and boost public confidence," Plevneliev said.
The president also said he would propose that the referendum be held simultaneously with the May 25 elections for European Parliament.
"Today more than half of Bulgarian voters refrain from voting. This situation is becoming increasingly unacceptable and requires a radical change," Plevneliev said. "Let the voice of the people be heard. Let everyone have a stand on the future of the nation, and not make the future hostage to manipulators or vote-peddlers. Democracy depends on all of us."
Currently, the 240 members of Bulgaria's National Assembly are elected for a four-year term by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies. Political parties must poll a minimum of 4.0% of the national vote in order to enter the Assembly.