Socialists React to New Election Code Revisions Tabled by GERB
119 POLITICS - SOCIALISTS - ELECTION CODE - COMMENT
Socialists React to
New Election Code
Revisions Tabled by GERB
Sofia, February 19 (BTA) - At a news conference on Tuesday, the Bulgarians Socialist Party (BSP) commented on the bill amending the Election Code that GERB tabled on Monday. "One mistake cannot be fixed with another mistake," the opposition argued, referring to the fact that these amendments come even before the previous ones have entered into force.
On February 14, Parliament passed conclusively Government-backed amendments to the Election Code whereby increasing the required number of preference votes to allow a rearrangement of a party's candidates list in elections. According to the revisions, 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. The parliamentary majority also rejected the Socialists' proposal to elect a new Central Election Commission (CEC) with the argument that the procedure could create chaos before the European elections.
After criticism both by the opposition and by members of the power-sharing United Patriots coalition, GERB Monday introduced a bill amending the Election Code to reinstate the old preference thresholds. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also told a news briefing that a new CEC will be elected.
Addressing the media, BSP for Bulgaria Deputy Floor Leader Kroum Zarkov commented that the ruling majority has clearly not learned its lesson. "Late on Monday, it tabled once again in panic, chaotically and without preparation a bill that is supposed to fix last week's mistake," he said.
According to him, the Government should have waited to see whether the President would veto last week's revisions or promulgate them; it is after the revisions' publication in the State Gazette that the Election Code could be amended again. In Zarkov's words, the power holders once again find themselves in an unprecedented situation.
"Now, the same people who so aggressively rejected our arguments yesterday will fervently defend these today," Zarkov noted. This does not help improve the image of the National Assembly, which GERB Floor Leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov called for earlier on Tuesday, Zarkov added.
The Socialist MP said that his parliamentary group will no longer attend parliamentary sittings, because the 44th National Assembly needs to be dissolved if parliamentarism is to be saved. What kind of parliamentarism is this where amendments are being amended before their entry into force, he asked rhetorically.