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Bulgarians abroad demand new election rules cancellation

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Over the weekend Bulgarians residing and working abroad organized protests and petitions to the National Assembly and the president declaring their opposition to restrictions of their right to vote in Bulgarian elections in the wake of latest amendments to the Election Code. Under amendments voting will take place in either Bulgarian embassies or consular offices across the world. Bulgarians living and working in Belgium held a flash mob yesterday outside Bulgarian’s representation at the European Union in Brussels. They said amendments had put an end to illusions that the political class was not working for their selfish political interests exclusively. The declaration of protesters reads that MPs have made voting compulsory so as to compensate for the lack of trust in the electorate who refuse to go and vote for the same parties and individuals. They also argue that amendments severely restrict voting abroad by cancelling the option of opening polling stations outside diplomatic missions and consular offices. Protesters outside the Bulgarian Embassy in London said that 50,000 Bulgarians were living in the United Kingdom so voting at the embassy alone was no option for them because of their large numbers and because some had to travel long distances to vote. Students from Oxford have signed an appeal to President Rosen Plevneliev demanding a veto on contested texts in election legislation. There is also an online petition to parliament that Bulgarians from across the world are invited to join. Bulgarians abroad play a relevant role in Bulgaria’s economy mostly due to the money they send to this country in support of their families in Bulgaria.

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