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National Assembly passes the new Election Code

The lawmakers have passed at second reading the new Election Code. In a term of 15 days, after the code takes effect, the National Assembly is to elect the chairperson, the two deputy chairpersons and the secretary of the Central Electoral Commission. The parliament afterwards will nominate the 15 members of the Commission by holding a public procedure. The nominees will be then proposed for appointment to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. The term of office of the current members of the commission will end when the Election Code goes into force and the new members are appointed. The proposal of PG GERB to keep the present members of CEC was rejected.

Five days before the day when the elections will be held, the CEC will determine 500 electoral sections in one electoral district where machine voting will be held for the first time. The results received through machine voting will be counted towards the final results of the elections.

The lawmakers have determined the residence requirements for the different elections (for MEPs, for MPs, presidential and local). In local elections right to vote and to be elected as mayors or municipal councilors have Bulgarian citizens who have resided at the particular locality in the last 6 months.

The right to elect Members of the European parliament from Bulgaria will have Bulgarian citizens, as well as citizens of other EU member-countries who have long term or permanent residence permits and have lived in Bulgaria in the last 3 months or in another EU member-country.
Right to be elected as MEPs from Bulgaria have Bulgarian citizens who have lived in the country or in another EU member-country in the last 6 months. Right to be elected also have citizens of other EU member-countries who had lived as long term or permanent residents in Bulgaria or in another EU member-country in the last 6 months before the elections. For time resided in Bulgaria is considered the time when a Bulgarian citizen has lived outside of the country when he/she was sent abroad by the Bulgarian state.

According to the rules passed, candidates for President or Vice-President should “have lived in the country in the last 5 years”, meaning the candidate, a Bulgarian citizen, had spent on Bulgarian territory more than 6 months of each one of the last 5 years, before the date of the elections. The time spent abroad when the citizen was sent on duty by the Bulgarian state counts as one lived in Bulgaria.

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