Bulgarian citizens, angered over controversial changes to the electoral code, planned to stage a protest in front of parliament in Sofia on Tuesday. Protesters oppose the introduction of mandatory voting, a ban on opening polling stations outside Bulgarian diplomatic missions abroad as well as the launch of experimental online voting in the presidential elections in October, which they view as hasty. ‘We are warning MPs that… any attempt to technically limit our rights will not pass without consequences,” the organizers said on Facebook. Bulgaria’s parliament gave a green light to mandatory voting on April 21, qualifying it as a “civil duty” following a legislative proposal of the far-right Patriotic Front party.
Citizens who fail to vote in two consecutive elections will be removed from the voting roll, MPs decided, drawing criticism from opposition parties and experts who declared the changes anti-constitutional.
Those most seriously affected by parliament’s decisions are Bulgarians who live abroad – over 2.1 million people according to data from the Foreign Ministry in 2011.
In the recent years, members of the Bulgarian diaspora have become some of the country’s biggest foreign investors. In 2013, emigrants poured 1.7 billion euros into the Bulgarian economy, compared to only 1.2 billion euros in foreign direct investment, FDI, data from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have shown.
Full Article: Bulgarians Protest Over New Voting Rules :: Balkan Insight.