Bulgaria: President slams parties over referendum, calls on Parliament to approve electronic voting | The Sofia Globe

Bulgarian head of state Rossen Plevneliev has described the October 25 national referendum on electronic voting as an indisputable success and proof that citizens want to participate actively in decision-making in the state, while slamming political parties for their inertia towards the issue. He also disclosed that he had asked the State Agency for National Security to investigate the hacker attack that confounded the working of the Central Election Commission website on election day, and said that he saw the attack as an attempt to discredit the idea of online voting. Plevneliev was speaking on October 30 at a briefing broadcast live on radio and television, two days after the Central Election Commission said that 69.5 per cent of those who voted were in favour of introducing electronic voting in future elections and referendums, and 26 per cent voted against, with the remaining 4.5 per cent of ballots declared invalid.

Bulgaria: President makes case for national referendum | The Sofia Globe

There is no more powerful tool to increase citizens’ confidence than a referendum, Bulgarian head of state President Rossen Plevneliev told the National Assembly on July 28, making the case for a referendum on three questions on electoral reform proposed for October 25. The proposal is to hold the referendum on the three questions along with scheduled mayoral and municipal elections, the first round of which will be held on the last Sunday in October. Plevneliev has long been campaigning for a referendum on electoral reform, but his proposals were blocked by the previous parliament, at the time of the now-departed ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms in 2013 and 2014.

Bulgaria: President resumes campaign for referendum on electoral system | The Sofia Globe

Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev is to send Parliament a request for the holding of a referendum on the country’s electoral system – formally resuming a campaign that was defeated in the previous parliament. Plevneliev tabled a request in the now-departed 42nd National Assembly for a referendum on issues including compulsory voting, electronic voting and a majoritarian element to the electoral system, but this was blocked by the then-ruling axis of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms. In an interview published by mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa, Plevneliev was reported to have confirmed that his proposal was similar to the one he had made previously, to hold the referendum simultaneously with scheduled elections – in the case of 2015, the municipal elections to be held in the autumn.

Bulgaria: Tussle over new Central Election Commission continues | The Sofia Globe

The political dispute over Bulgaria’s new Central Election Commission (CEC) that has put the President and the parties in power at odds was set to continue in the National Assembly on March 26 2014. A twist in the dispute came on March 25 when the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a partner in the ruling axis, said that it was giving up on getting a third seat on the CEC, in spite of its earlier demands for such a seat – and that it would opposition party GERB’s demand for a deputy chairpersonship of the commission. Centre-right GERB is the largest party in the 42nd National Assembly but also the opposition after it could find no party with which to form a governing coalition after the May 2013 national parliamentary election.

Bulgaria: Parliament overturns presidential veto of election code | The Sofia Globe

The National Assembly voted on March 4 to overturn President Rossen Plevneliev’s veto of a number of provisions of the Election Code. The vote was 138 to 80, with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms and Ataka, as well as three “independent” MPs voting together, and only centre-right opposition party GERB voting to accept Plevneliev’s decision to return several parts of the controversial legislation to Parliament for reconsideration. Plevneliev spelt out his objections in detail on February 28 in a written response to the law that had been approved by Parliament seven days earlier, and the March 4 special sitting was called to respond. In swift succession, the ad hoc committee on the electoral legislation – headed by Maya Manolova, the BSP MP who had the task of getting the Election Code through Parliament – overturned the veto, followed by the vote in the House.

Bulgaria: A million signatures for a referendum on electoral laws | The Sofia Globe

Going by the claims of organisers, more than a million signatures have been collected to demand that Bulgaria’s Parliament agrees to the holding of a national referendum on electoral law reform. If the figure is accurate and stands up to official scrutiny, it will be more than double the statuory minimum required for requiring Parliament to call a referendum. At issue is President Rossen Plevneliev’s call in January for the 42nd National Assembly to agree to the holding of a referendum on three issues – a majoritarian element in the election of MPs, compulsory voting and electronic voting – and for this question to be put to Bulgarian citizens when they go to vote on May 25 2014 in European Parliament elections. In collaboration, the parties of the ruling axis, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, already have voted in the legal affairs committee on Parliament to reject Plevneliev’s call.

Bulgaria: President seeks referendum to boost voter turnout | EurActiv

Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev proposed yesterday (29 January) a national referendum on how election rules might be changed and boost low trust in the political institutions in the wake of massive protests in the Balkan country last year. If agreed, the referendum will take place together with the European elections on 25 May. Plevneliev proposed a national referendum in which Bulgarians will have their say on whether they want to elect some lawmakers directly rather than from party lists, voting made obligatory and electronic voting allowed. At present, Bulgarians can choose 240 parliament members only from party lists. The plebiscite, which is pending parliament approval, should be held along with the European elections on 25 May, Plevneliev said in an address to the nation late on Wednesday. “I appeal to the parliament to take a decision to hold a referendum … I believe will help to stabilise the institutions and increase public trust,” he said.

Bulgaria: Plevneliev, Kalfin and the quest for allies in the second round | Sofia Echo

With exit polls showing that Bulgaria’s ruling party GERB presidential candidate Rossen Plevneliev will face off in a second round against the socialists’ Ivailo Kalfin on October 30 2011, the big question was for whom other political forces would declare.

Ahmed Dogan, whose Movement for Rights and Freedoms did not nominate its own presidential candidate, was declining to be drawn in doorstep interviews as he arrived on the October 23 election night at the election centre.

Dogan, whose party served in the previous governing coalitions and which is supported in the main by Bulgarians of ethnic Turkish descent, has a stable electorate that could sway an election – and yet, according to polling agencies – that electorate was divided in its decisions at the first round.

Bulgaria: Ethnic tensions mar Bulgaria’s presidential elections | EurActiv

On a visit to Brussels, Rossen Plevneliev, the candidate for president of the EPP-affiliated GERB ruling party, condemned recent events in the town Katunitsa as “purely criminal actions.” He said the occurrences should not be politicised to avoid the risk of a ‘blame game’. Rather, he insisted, one should hold a real debate about policies.

Violence erupted in Katunitsa last week (23 September) when 19-year old ethnic Bulgaria was reportedly killed by a man employed by Roma mafia boss Kiril Rashkov, known locally as ‘Tsar Kiro’, sparking an unprecedented outburst of anger among the local population and the arson of the crime leader’s property.