>Bulgarian President wants strong, clean parties and mixed elctoral system


The Sofia Weekly carries the following report about the Bulgarian President’s plans for making the country’s democracy more effective and legitimate

“Bulgaria President Proposes New Political Model

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov presented Tuesday his proposal for the reform of the political model in Bulgaria, focusing on the three main points that could lead to real political results.

The three points included in the President’s proposal are: the necessity of legal and public guarantees for a national representation of the political parties, transparency regarding Party financing and regaining of voters’ trust through a reform of the election system.

Below is the proposals’ full text:

I. Legal and public guarantees for a national representation of the political parties:

  • In order to participate in elections, a Party must have registered structures in 2/3 of the municipalities.
  • If a Party could not reach 1% (2% for coalitions) from the vote in two consecutive elections, the Party would be stricken from the Party Register and would not participate in the next elections. If the Party wishes to continue its political existence, it would enter a new registration regime according to the Political Parties Law
  • Only parties who have received 1% (2% for coalitions) from the vote during the previous parliamentary elections would be able to participate in local elections. They would be the only ones to designate candidates for mayors and create election lists. Independent mayoral candidates and independent Councilmen would be acceptable, but not lists that are not clearly related to a political Party.

II. Transparent Party financing:

  • Discontinue financing of political parties by legal entities; increase State subsidy for parties receiving over 1% at the last parliamentary vote.
  • Public register of individual donors with a preset limit for the donation amount; public register for the Advertising and PR agencies serving particular parties.
  • For election participation, in addition to the requirement that the Party registers with the Central Election Commission, it must also register a public payment account where all donations would be deposited and all money to pay for election campaigning would come from.
  • Delegating rights, human resources and experts to the National Audit Office for control over Party finances, election campaigns and activity of the advertising and PR agencies.
  • Each election campaign would be subject of finance check-up by the National Audit Office. If the campaign has not been paid for from the payment account officially registered by the Party, the Party would be sanctioned.
  • The National Audit Office would have the right to check the Party accounting books.
  • Sanctions that could be imposed by the National Audit Office in case of finance violations include elections’ results cancellation, disallowing the Party participation in the next elections and others.
  • Discontinuation of the renting of Party club facilities to third parties either by directly forbidding the renting or by turning the rent into a public or State rent determined by the average market price for the region.

III. Regaining the voters’ trust through a reform of the election system:

  • Introduction of a proportional election system with a majority element:
  • Maintaining the proportional character of the election system in order to guarantee the leading political will and responsibility of the political Party.
  • Majority candidates would run in big single mandate election regions to contribute to their public recognition and allowing effective control over vote purchasing.
  • Clean the electiton lists from the so-called “ghosts”; introduction of active voters’ registration; unification of the rules for different”

4 Responses to “>Bulgarian President wants strong, clean parties and mixed elctoral system”

  1. MSS 26 June 2008 at 11:20 pm #

    >What might this mean?Majority candidates would run in big single mandate election regions to contribute to their public recognition and allowing effective control over vote purchasing.

  2. Sean Hanley 27 June 2008 at 8:59 am #

    >Good question and I have to confess, I’m not sure at this point – this report is actually just a verbatim reproduction of the English language statement put out by the Bulgarian presidential office. Vote buying is (seen as) a problem in Bulgaria and, to the best of my knowledge, concerns excluded groups, although the leader of the Turkish minority party caused a furore a while ago by saying that it was a perfectly acceptable and/or normal practice.

  3. MSS 27 June 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    >Going to single-seat constituencies seems a rather odd way to combat vote-buying.But, as I noted at F&V, someone in the president’s office may have read The Efficient Secret. Or at least the reference to “big single mandate regions” would imply such.And, yes, I guessed it might have been directed against the MRF.

  4. Sean Hanley 30 June 2008 at 10:32 am #

    >As regards the logic of electoral reform proposals for fighting corrupt practices, political science and political scientists, as you know, feed into the process. My feeling is that electoral and political institutions in many post-communist are blamed for problems with deep and complex causes because changing them is (in theory) quick. Basically, any change away from the institutional status quo is seen as a magic bullet solution. I may, in fact, do the MRF an injustice here, although the Bulgaria recent vote buying scandal in local elections in Sandalski has been reported as the MRF trying to buy up Roma votes. It’s interesting how vote buying seems to be (perceived as) a particular problem in Bulgaria. It would be interesting to know whether this is because it takes places in the very blatant form reported in the link above or simply because the media have picked up on it. Politicians in Romania seem to be keen on giving similar material inducements (good not cash) to voters, but – as far as I am aware – it gets reported as a quaint if disreputable election custom. Further thoughts anyone?

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