Bulgaria's Finance Minister Excluded from Voting in Local Elections
Bulgaria's Finance Minister, Assen Vassilev, was unable to vote in the local elections in his hometown of Haskovo, as reported by BNR.
The Central Electoral Commission of Bulgaria announced that Vassilev had not resided in the country for the last six months, as required by law, and was automatically removed from the voter lists.
In particular, Petya Shopova, a representative of the Bulgarian Central Electoral Commission (CEC), stated that they searched for Mr. Vassilev on the voter list but did not find him.
"We then found him on the list of deleted individuals. The reason was that he had a current address outside the Republic of Bulgaria," she noted.
However, the Finance Minister can still cast his vote in the local elections, but he needs to provide certain documents.
"In order for him to exercise his voting right, he must provide us with an identity certificate issued by the municipality in accordance with Article 40 of the Electoral Code, as well as fill out a declaration that he will not vote anywhere else," said Shopova.
According to Shopova, the minister agreed to fulfil these conditions.
It is worth noting that on Sunday, Bulgaria held the first round of regular local elections, with mayors and city council members being elected in 265 municipalities.
This time, the partners in the government and parliament coalition, GERB-SDS and "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria," are competing in the local elections. This could lead to a shift in the balance of the ruling majority ahead of the change of prime minister in March 2024.
The local elections have seen the participation of 58 parties and 9 coalitions, as well as over 8,000 candidates for mayor positions in cities, towns, and districts, and over 30,000 candidates for general elections.
The preliminary results published by the Central Electoral Commission are currently known.
It is worth recalling that last week, Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Nikolai Denkov, announced his intention to deprive Russia's Gazprom of profits from gas supplies to Hungary and Serbia, which Russia used to finance its war against Ukraine. To achieve this, he agreed to impose a tax on the transportation of Russian gas through Bulgaria, accusing Hungary and Serbia of aiding the Kremlin's "war machine" without seeking alternative energy sources.