Bulgarias parliament has met for the first time since an election earlier this month, with President Rumen Radev expected to formally hand the party There Is Such a People (ITN), led by popular television entertainer Slavi Trifonov, a mandate to form a government.
In their first order of business on July 21, lawmakers approved Iva Miteva of ITN as speaker by a vote of 137 to 1. In a sign of how fractured the legislature is following the elections, there were 99 abstentions.
Trifonovs ITN placed first with 24.08 percent, just ahead of former Prime Minister Boyko Borisovs GERB party with 23.51 percent in the July 11 election, the countrys second in three months after the first was inconclusive.
The final results from Bulgaria’s snap parliamentary elections released on July 13 confirm earlier preliminary results showing the anti-elite party called There Is Such a People (ITN) edging out former Prime Minister Boyko Borisovs GERB-led coalition.
With 100 percent of the ballots counted, TV entertainer Slavi Trifonovs ITN finished first with 24.08 percent and GERB with 23.51, Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission said.
The parliamentary elections were held just three months after a previous, inconclusive vote. ITN’s vote total on July 11 was more than 92,000 beyond its total in the previous elections, held on April 4. GERB’s total was nearly 200,000 votes below what it received in April.
Four other parties gained enough votes to enter parliament. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was first among them with 13.39 percent, while liberal, Western-leaning grouping Democratic Bulgaria was next with 12.64 percent.
The mostly ethnic Turkish-backed Movement for Rights and Freedoms finished with 10.71 percent, while Stand Up! Get Out! -- a new, center-left alliance launched by former ombudsman Maya Manolova -- was at 5.01 percent in the final count.
As a European Union and NATO member that borders Turkey, hugs the Black Sea coast and maintains cordial relations with Russia, Bulgaria is a strategically significant country. Yet in recent years, it has rarely made international news-except for the occasional domestic clash over Russian influence and periodic mass protests over corruption and state capture.
The latest such uprising may have finally forced the departure from high-level politics of Boyko Borissov, who has served three nonconsecutive terms as prime minister since 2009 and was a mainstay of the Bulgarian political scene before that. His center-right populist Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria party, known as GERB, won the most votes in elections in early April, as it has in every one of the nine parliamentary and European Parliament votes Bulgaria has held since 2007
Mihail Konstantinov, a Professor in Mathematics and a Deputy Chairman of Bulgarias Central Electoral Commission (CEC) in 2003, has said that voter lists contain around 700,000 phantom names.
To prove his point, the professor has explained that voter rolls contain a total of 6 800 000 names, while the National Statistical Institute has listed a total of 6,100,000 Bulgarians who are eligible to vote, which leaves a total of 700,000 fake entries.
According to Konstantinov, as cited by Bulgarian Sega daily, CEC could have purged the electoral votes through a legislative solution, but it is already too late for that.
The Professor says that he has been recommending active voters registration, a step that instantly removes phantom votes, for at least 16 years.
"I demonstrated the model, I calculated its cost, but did not make any difference. The proposal was rejected. Someone takes advantage from the situation, or they are just a bunch of incompetent people who are there to kill time. Or it is a combination of the two", Konstantinov states.
He says that there is no other way to purge lists of voterless votes but to introduce active registration.
"If we approve it next year, we will enjoy spick-and-span lists for the general elections in 2013", the Math Professor adds, urging the journalists to start a campaign about the matter and stir the MPs into action.
Bulgaria Parliamentary Election:
constitution of 1991, republic since 1990. Parliament: National Assembly (Narodno sabranje) with 240 members, elections every four years. Direct election of head of state every five years. Voting age 18.