The protocols and the short-hand notes of Bulgaria’s Central Electoral Commission, CEK, are as secret as the X Files, according to the Bulgarian NGO Institute for Public Environment Development (IRPS). The Chair of IRPS, Antoaneta Tsoneva, says the analogy with the popular US TV series is more than obvious, pointing out the NGO, under the Access to Public Information Act, had requested from CEK the said protocols and notes because it wanted to use them to access the effect of the new Election Code.
CEK, however, sent a letter refusing to provide the documents, which, according to Tsoneva, is a mockery of IRPS and their work.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Parliament rejected during the week a Bill which would have mandated CEK to publish all of their protocols. The Bill was endorsed only by 31 Members of the Parliament from the opposition, left-wing Coalition for Bulgaria. The only argument of the majority, mainly from the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party was that all parliamentary groups have representatives with CEK and can receive information from them.
“We don’t have representatives, media don’t either,” Tsoneva points out, stressing this has been a vicious practice, lasting for over 20 years now with CEK remaining one of the very few institutions to work in the dark unlike the Council of Ministers, the Parliament, the parliamentary committees, and the Supreme Judicial Council, VSS, whose sessions are public.
The NGO assert CEK’s refusal letter has no legal grounds and is in violation of the adopted election procedures.