After sitting for more than fourteen hours on Tuesday, members of Bulgaria’s parliamentary legal affairs committee adopted at second reading a set of amendments to the Electoral Code. The amendments, which were discussed at three extraordinary sittings of the committee that lasted for over 28 hours in total, will be subject to final vote in the plenary chamber on Thursday, daily Dnevnik informs. Among the main amendments adopted by MPs is the classification of voting as a civil duty and the introduction of compulsory voting. Voters might be entitled to rewards, which will be determined by the Council of Ministers, while those not casting their ballot will be subject to penalty by being deregistered from the electoral rolls for participation in the next elections. Those deregistered will be able to be signed back on the electoral register by submitting a request to the competent authorities.
MPs approved the inclusion of “Not voting for anyone” as a valid option on the ballot paper, which provides an opportunity for those not supporting any of the parties or candidates contesting the elections to express their opinion.
Lawmakers amended the provision which stipulated that if a referendum and elections are scheduled to take place in the same year, these should be held simultaneously. This is most likely aimed at holding the six-point referendum on the political system, initiated by Slavi’s show, earlier than the presidential elections scheduled to take place in the autumn.
The amendments foresee the holding of experimental remote electronic voting at three consecutive elections, including referendums, after 1 January 2018. Until then, the Central Election Commission (CIK) will hold three simulations of remote electronic voting, in which voters will cast their ballot for made-up parties, coalitions or candidates.