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Bulgarian Expats Alarmed by Tight Voter Registration Deadline

2011.08.12 Няма коментари
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The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is explaining officially Friday the rules of organizing presidential elections abroad.

According to the Election code, and under the decision of Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC), Bulgarian citizens abroad, wishing to vote for president, must submit their written or email applications by September 27 – no later than 25 days before the October 23 elections.

The Foreign Ministry is to publish the rules for the presidential vote outside the country on all of its websites, including diplomatic representations abroad, by August 15.

CEC published the decision on July 29th, but many Bulgarian emigrants complain the September 27th deadline remains largely unknown in their communities.

Stefan Manov, from France, representing the temporary public councils of Bulgarians abroad, says at many places expats would not be able to submit on time the 100 applications, required to open a voting poll outside embassies and consular offices, since – one, they do not know about the deadline, and two – many of them, as well as embassies’ staff, are on summer leave and traveling on vacation.

Petar Stamatov, who heads the largest media outlet in Bulgarian in North America – Eurochicago.com, based in Chicago – home of the largest Bulgarian community on the new continent, also voices doubts all Bulgarians in the US, wishing to cast their vote, will be able to do so. He points out there is no information about the elections on the internet page of the Bulgarian Consular Office in Chicago or the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, DC, all while the deadlines are very short.

Meanwhile, Radi Naydenov, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry and Chair of the Work Group for Organizing the Vote Abroad, said at a special press conference the cabinet has slated BGN 0.5 M for this vote, pointing out the money is not much, but the Ministry would have to fit this limit.

“It is always better to drive a Rolls instead of a Smart, but what is more important is to reach the final destination, Naydenov said. He explained the final amount would depend of the number of voting polls, which is still unknown,

The Secretary reminded that election polls will be established at Embassies and Consular Offices where at least 20 people have applied to take part in the vote by the deadline. In locations where Bulgaria does not have diplomatic representation, a minimum of 100 applications will be needed to open a poll. If the applications exceed 1 000, a second poll will be organized.

Diplomatic representations have until August 13 to request approval from the hosting country and, in concordance with its laws, as a second requirement to hold elections.


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