Open Letter of TI-Bulgaria to Members of Parliament in relation to changes in Electoral Code
In connection with the changes in the Electoral Code that are currently discussed at the National Assembly, TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL-Bulgaria sent an open letter to the Head of Legal Affairs Committee in the 43rd National Assembly and to the heads of parliamentary groups.
We appeal to you with reference to the heightened public awareness of the problems related to the preparation of the electoral process abroad, the controversial method of counting the ballots containing the option to select “I do not support anyone,” and the changes in the Electoral Code that are discussed in this moment.
TI-Bulgaria is an organization that has always insisted on adherence to international standards in the preparation of the electoral legislation; full respect of the citizens’ rights at the election process; consideration of the legal norms in their whole; interrelatedness and integration of a wide range of experts, civil society organizations and stakeholders in the discussion and the amendments to the law.
We believe that the last changes in Electoral Code were made as a result of political compromises and in disregard of the opinion of the expert community. The ensuing result was the creation of rules that caused new problems instead of solving the already existing ones.
One illustrative example is the way in which the mandatory voting was introduced – a penalty that precludes voters from the electoral process and will have unpredictable consequences for the political process, thus causing difficulties in its implementation.
For us the decision of the National Assembly to adopt amendments to the Electoral Code is reasonable although it has been performed in the course of preparation of elections. A similar approach can be defined as “minimizing the damage” admitted as a result of inconsistent decisions that change the election rules in “piecemeal” and have been made without assessing the consequences.
In this connection TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL-Bulgaria appeal MPs to take immediate measures and to find an adequate solution to the problems, which disables the potential for new problems in the electoral process. Bulgarian voters and institutions need a solution which does not distort election results and does not inhibit further operation of the institutions involved in the preparation of elections.
Changes to Electoral Code should be based on a wide discussion as a result of which the problems to be considered in depth, with an assessment of all possible consequences. Election rules should provide a solid basis for the electoral process in the country. These rules are to help building confidence in the representative institutions and creating of guarantees for respecting the voters’ rights.
Consequences from the ambiguous way of registration of voting-papers with the vote “I support nobody”08.11.2016 г.
Transparency International Bulgaria will monitor the electoral process with more than 100 observers across the country.08.11.2016 г.