The Central Election Commission (CEC) amended late on Friday night its decision on electronic voting machines by writing that during the elections on March 26 there will be electronic voting in all voting sections. CEC will organise, manage and control this type of voting and the processing of data from electronic voting. There is still no announcement for a public procurement order for voting machines on CEC’s website. Electronic voting will take place via specialised machines and electronic means, while the commission will determine the requirements for these. There will be mandatory instructions for the implementation of technical and IT support.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Bulgaria.
The Public Council to Bulgaria’s electoral body, the Central Electoral Commission, or CIK, on Thursday said the future of electronic voting in Bulgaria must be determined after thorough analyses and public debate. “The drastic increase in the number of the machines [for voting] in use without enough time for preparation could become an obstacle to the organization of the electoral process”, the council, which brings together experts from the civil sector, noted. The statement comes after interim Interior Minister Stefan Yanev, whose ministry is in charge of organizing the vote on March 26 said the state will provide machines for all polling stations in Bulgaria and abroad. The minister said the CIK will be in charge of organizing a public procurement for around 13,000 voting machines, without specifying whether they will be rented or purchased or how much this would cost.
Bulgarian government officials are at pains to issue assurances that the March 2017 parliamentary elections will succeed in spite of the new and costly complication about having to supply voting machines to all polling stations. But the Central Election Commission has admitted the process could face the possibility of no one meeting the conditions to provide the machines or the procurement process facing a court challenge – though the commission is insisting that if this happened, it would not call into question the legitimacy of the elections. Months after the now-departed National Assembly voted the latest rewrite of electoral laws, and months after Boiko Borissov’s government resigned and set the country on the path to early elections, the election process faces an unforeseen complication. Or one that could have been foreseen.
Bulgaria: Government and Electoral Officials Looking at Ecuador, Philippines for Solution to Machine Voting Crisis | Novinite
Government and electoral officials will meet on Thursday to discuss ways to procure 12 000 voting machines, with options including an order to Ecuador or the Philippines. Talks have been scheduled between Stefan Yanev, the interim Defense Minister and Deputy PM on elections, and members of the Central Election Commission (CEC). These come less than two months ahead of the early election scheduled for March 26. On Wednesday, a supreme court ruled authorities should provide voting machines for all 12 500 polling stations. Currently, there are only 500 in stock. The announcement followed a move by CEC to warn machines would only be available for 500 polling stations, despite new legislation stipulating all stations should be equipped with them.
The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled Bulgarian authorities have to make sure electronic voting is enabled in every polling station in the country at the snap election scheduled for the end of March. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, delivers a blow to both the interim cabinet and the Central Election Commission (CEC), which earlier this year stated only 500 polling locations would be equipped with voting machines. Bulgaria needs 12 500 machines to carry through the vote successfully under the new legislation. How 12 000 more will be procured is not immediately clear as the government insists they cannot be secured on a short notice, less than two months before a general election.
Bulgaria’s new president yesterday called an early national election for 26 March and appointed a former parliamentary speaker as caretaker prime minister until then. Ognyan Gerdzhikov, 70, currently a professor of law and head of an arbitration court, served as speaker of parliament in a centrist government from 2001 to 2005 and is now the Eastern European country’s interim prime minister. Kiril Ananiev, 61, currently a deputy finance minister in charge of budgets, will take over as finance minister, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Ananiev is seen as a safe pair of hands, having served as deputy finance minister in five different governments. The appointments show that President Rumen Radev, who took office this month after winning an election with the backing of the opposition Socialists, is seeking continuity and balance, analysts said.
Bulgaria: Russia-friendly Radev sworn in as Bulgaria’s president, set to dissolve parliament | Reuters
Former air force commander Rumen Radev was sworn in as Bulgaria’s new president on Thursday and said he would dissolve the parliament in a week’s time following the collapse of the centre-right government. Radev, a political newcomer who ran as an independent with the backing of the opposition Socialists, takes up his largely ceremonial post on Sunday after pledging to maintain Bulgaria’s position as a member of the European Union and NATO while also improving historically important ties with Russia. Radev’s decisive victory in November’s presidential race prompted the government of Boiko Borisov to resign, raising the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty in the Balkan nation and making an early parliamentary election virtually inevitable.
The party of outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has submitted the draft of a new Electoral Code that provides for a switch of Bulgaria’s voting system. The text has been created by GERB lawmakers Danail Kirilov and Dimitar Lazarov. It constitutes yet another attempt of the main ruling party – the senior partner in the outgoing coalition government – to pass a change of the electoral system, from one of proportional representation to majority voting. On Wednesday, lawmakers postponed the review of a bill that would have introduced first-past-the-post voting. Under the proposals, 240 single-seat constituencies will be created (Bulgaria’s legislature has 240 seats), all of them being in Bulgaria.
Forming a new Bulgarian government within the current Parliament should not be deemed impossible anymore, main ruling GERB party leader and outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said. Speaking after a European Council session in Brussels, he has cited the results of a referendum showing Bulgarian voters’ preference for a first-past-the-post electoral system (over the currently enforced proportional representation) and the complex political situation in the region. Borisov, who by now has only shown skepticism about the Reformist Bloc’s effort to forge another cabinet after his resignation, has told reporters it is “worth scaling forward the [resignation] time just so little as to accept [a] new election law in accordance with the [results of the] referendum.”
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court ordered on December 14 a recount of ballots cast in the nationwide referendum on November 6 in 44 electoral precincts. The recount order comes after the initiative committee that gathered the signatures necessary to call the plebiscite lodged a complaint against the Central Electoral Committee, arguing that the electoral body had breached election rules, which could have altered the outcome of the referendum.