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Post: Procedure for elections to the Bulgarian Parliament


According to the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria (1991), the National Assembly (Parliament) exercises legislative power in the country.

The Bulgarian Parliament is unicameral and consists of 240 members, elections are held every four years.

Election of a new National Assembly is kept not later than two months after the expiration of the previous one’s powers.

In 2021, three early parliamentary elections were held in Bulgaria due to the impossibility of forming a government according to the results. However, after the elections in November, the politicians managed to form a governing coalition.

As a result of the government crisis, the cabinet of ministers headed by Kiril Petkov resigned at the end of June 2022. Attempts to form a new government failed.

According to the constitution, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev signed the decree on the dissolution of the People’s Assembly (Parliament) on 2 August. Early elections will be held on October 2, 2022.

By Bulgarian Election Lawand (2014), parliamentarians are elected on a proportional basis using preferences in 32 multi-member constituencies, 26 of which correspond to administrative regions, with three constituencies in Sofia and two in Plovdiv and one multi-member constituency outside. country. The number of posts in each multi-member constituency depends on the population, but cannot be less than four.

Voting in Bulgaria compulsoryhowever, there is no sanction for not participating in the voting.

Citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote, with the exception of prisoners and those deemed legally incompetent by a court decision. All eligible voters permanently registered in Bulgaria are automatically included in the electoral roll of the relevant polling station.

Citizens of countries over the age of 21 who have the right to vote and do not have any other citizenship can participate in the elections. Candidates in the civil service must terminate their official duties upon registration.

Candidates can run as parties, coalitions or independently.

Persons who are prohibited from joining political parties (military, intelligence and police officers, diplomats, judges and prosecutors) can participate in the elections as independent candidates.

Party and coalition candidates are registered under numbers on the candidate lists. The number of candidates on each list may not exceed twice the number of seats in a multi-member constituency. Each candidate can be nominated by only one political party or coalition from a maximum of two multi-member constituencies.

Parties and coalitions must submit to the CEC registration documents, a deposit of 2.5 thousand Bulgarian lev and the signatures of at least 2.5 thousand voters.

Each one independent candidate It can be registered with the support of at least 1% of the permanent residents of the county, but not voting more than a thousand votes. He can be a candidate in only one constituency. An independent candidate is also required to pay a deposit of 100 BGN.

The official election campaign starts 30 days before Election Day.

Public broadcasters, Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio are obliged to provide free broadcast time to each participant.

Campaign spending is limited and amounts to BGN 3 million for parties or coalitions and BGN 200,000 for independent candidates. The law allows unlimited donations from individuals and legal entities, but donations from non-residents, unidentified persons, religious organizations and foreign countries are prohibited.

Transactions over 1,000 BGN must be made via bank transfer.

Voting takes place between 07:00 and 20:00 at the polling stations on the election day. However, it can be extended until 21:00.

Persons whose behavior is contrary to social norms and persons carrying objects that threaten human life or health will not be included in the ballot box.

Machine voting is mandatory in polling stations with at least 300 registered voters. Paper ballots are only used in ballot boxes with fewer than 300 registered voters, private ballot boxes, voting at home, and when machines fail.

In the paper ballot, the voter puts a “V” or “X” in the box opposite the party, coalition or independent candidate they choose, and can also choose the “against all” option.

Voters can vote for a certain candidate from the party list if they wish. To do this, he must know the exact number of the candidate on the list and put an “X” or “V” in the appropriate circle. The folded ballot paper is handed over to the commissioner who checks whether the ballot paper matches the number on the list. It stamps the ballot paper and forwards it to the voter who will put the ballot paper in the ballot box.

To access the voting device, you must use a smart card, after which a ballot paper identical to the one on the screen will be displayed. The voter puts the vote on the list of candidates or indicates a preference for a candidate from the list of elected candidates of a political party or coalition. It is possible to vote against anyone. The voter can change his choice once before it is approved. The vote is recorded and stored in an electronic ballot box, the voter receives a notification of the end of the voting and a check receipt, which is placed in a special box for machine voting. The voter gives his smart card, signs the voter list and leaves the ballot box.

If a voter has vision, hearing, or other health problems that do not allow them to vote independently, the commission chair may authorize companion assistance. A person cannot accompany more than two voters.

Disabled voters who prevent them from exercising their right to vote at the ballot boxes can vote at home. For this, they must submit an appropriate application no later than 14 days before the election day.

Parties that receive at least 4% of the vote are allowed to distribute seats in parliament.

The Hare-Niemeyer method is used to determine the number of seats. According to the results of the last census, the population of the country is divided into 240. The resulting coefficient is a single representation standard for the country. Thereafter, the population of each multi-member constituency is divided by a single representation standard. Each county initially receives as many seats as it is listed, excluding the rest. The remaining seats are allocated to the largest remaining constituencies in descending order.

If the procedure cannot continue due to equal balances exceeding the number of remaining unallocated seats, these seats are distributed by lot by CEC. Representatives of political parties, coalition and initiative committees, observers and media representatives can participate in this process.

In order to determine the number of seats for independent candidates in multi-member constituencies, district electoral commissions determine the electoral quota of the constituency. To do this, the total number of valid votes cast in a district is divided by the number of seats reserved for that district. An independent candidate who receives more or an equal number of valid votes than the district’s electoral quota is deemed elected.

If the voter does not use the preferred option, he is counted as the first candidate on the party list. In order for a candidate to win a preferential seat, at least 7% of the voters who voted for him or the list of candidates to which he can be nominated must receive the vote.

Candidates are ranked according to the number of preferences received, starting with the candidate who received the most valid preferences. By removing them from the candidate list of the relevant party or coalition of parties, they form the A list. The remaining candidates on the list retain their original positions and form the B list.

If there are two or more candidates with an equal number of preferences in the first list, their ranking will be determined by the draw by CEC. In the absence of candidates with a valid preference, the selected candidates are determined according to the rank in the candidate list. If the number of candidates with valid preference is less than the number of seats reserved for a political party or coalition of parties, all candidates on the A list are elected. From list B in sort order.

If a candidate is elected from two multi-member constituencies, he must notify the CEC in writing from which constituency he wishes to be elected.

Otherwise, the CEC declares the candidate in question as a deputy elected from the electoral district where he was registered as a deputy for the first time.

In the vacant constituency, the CEC announces that it has chosen the candidate occupying the next position on the list.

The Central Election Commission announces the election results no later than four days after the voting day. CEC announces the names of the elected deputies seven days after the election day at the latest.

The newly elected People’s Assembly is called for its first meeting by the President within one month following the election of the Parliament. If this does not happen within the specified time, a meeting is called by one-fifth of the members of the Parliament.

The material has been prepared on the basis of information from RIA Novosti and from open sources.

Source: Ria

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