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(DF) President Vetoes Election Code Amendments, Says They Aim to Secure Default Victory for Power-holders in Upcoming Elections

September 28 (BTA) – Announcing that he has vetoed revisions to the Election Code adopted earlier in September by the power-holders, President Rumen Radev said in an address to the nation here on Monday that they have the clear aim of securing a victory “by default” in the next parliamentary elections for the power-holders. He said that would “deal yet another blow on the legal groundwork of the State, step back from clear legal rules and make people doubt the fairness of elections”. The veto applies to parts of the revisions only, concerning machine voting and the scope of questions that can be decided in referendums. The President stressed that changing such important rules only months ahead of elections, without a debate or an impact assessment, is an example of the government’s s unpredictability and drives people away from the ballot boxes. The President argues that the revised Election Code allows both voting by ballots and on voting machines, combined with manual vote counting, which renders machine voting meaningless. “These decisions can hardly be justified with anything other than to create opportunities for chaos and manipulations to the benefit of the power-holders,” he said. The Legislature deprives the Central Election Commission of the opportunity to decide who should process the votes and entrusts this to Information Services AD, ignoring a number of rules for competitive award of contracts and preventing unfair competition and abuse of monopolist positions, Radev also said. Also, he argued that scrapping a ban on holding referendums on questions which are within the competence of a Grand National Assembly unjustifiably mixes up two constitutional forms of citizens’ participation in government. “It is a palliative expansion of direct democracy which does not give people more opportunities to make decisions on important issues,” said Radev. It was widely commented after this revision went through, that now a referendum can even ask about changing the parliamentary republic in Bulgaria with a presidential republic. “The three months of national protests where thousands of people have been demanding the resignation of the government and the prosecutor general bear evidence of a deep crisis in democracy. The power-holders’ refusal to heed the voice of the people prolongs the agony. In these circumstances, the Cabinet does not govern but merely seeks to avoid political and legal responsibility for the myriad scandals of the past years. The revisions in the Election Code pursue the same goal,” Radev said. LN/RI/MT /МЙ/