Borissov: GERB Will Reinstate Previous Preference Voting Rules, Moves to Elect New Central Election Commission

February 18 (BTA) - Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko
Borissov told a news briefing on Monday that the members of the
current Election Commission will be replaced and a previous
preference threshold will be reinstated.

He spoke after GERB's Executive Commission discussed the latest
revisions to the Election Code.

Preference voting allows a voter to mark a candidate of his
choice, who, given enough preferences, can move up the party
list of candidates and improve his or her chance of getting
elected. Prior to the revisions, the threshold was set at 5 per
cent of the votes for the respective list for European elections
 and at 7 per cent for parliamentary elections.

The revisions increased the required number of votes to allow
such rearrangement of the candidates list, making it equal to
the number of votes needed for election of a member of the
European Parliament, the national parliament or a municipal
council. Thus to move up the party list, a candidate will need
150,000 preferences in European elections and 15,000 preferences
 in national parliamentary elections, compared to 2,000 or 3,000
 preferences before.

These decisions, voted last week as amendments to the current 
Election Code at a parliamentary sitting which lasted for over
fifteen hours, have been criticized both by the  opposition and
by members of the power-sharing United Patriots coalition.

On Sunday, Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova threatened that her
 parliamentary group would walk out of Parliament over the new
election rules. She conditioned her party's return on the
election of a new Central Election Commission and the
reinstatement of the previous preference voting rules, among
other things.

Borissov said it was the National Front for Salvation  of
Bulgaria, part of the United Patriots coalition, that wanted the
 number of preferences increased, and not the Movement for 
Rights and Freedoms as reported last week.

The old preference threshold will be reinstated either by 
upholding a presidential veto or by revising the Election Code 
on GERB's motion.

"I don't want to leave the slightest impression that we are
influenced by election rules," said GERB leader Borissov.

The Prime Minister said that he had invited his partners in the
 government, the United Patriots, to a meeting on Tuesday to 
discuss the quorum in Parliament.

Ninova told a news conference later in the day that the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) would not return to Parliament.
Although GERB have changed their position on the election rules,
 they have not met the BSP's demand for the introduction of 100
per cent machine voting in the European Parliament elections in

Last week Parliament decided that after the local elections this
 coming autumn, machine voting will replace paper ballots

The BSP will also wait to see if the President will impose a
veto and which provisions will be vetoed. The Left has alerted
the Venice Commission about the changed election rules and is
planning to hold a meeting with all European ambassadors, said
Ninova. LI,RY/PP,DD

Source: Sofia