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Bulgarians protest against reinstatement of paper ballots

Sofia, Bulgaria — Hundreds of people took part in a street demonstration in the Bulgarian capital on Thursday to oppose a revision of the electoral code which restores paper ballots, which the previous reformist government had replaced by voting machines.

The We Continue Change party and the Democratic Bulgaria political alliance called for the protest in Sofia, describing the change as an attempt by parties of the “old establishment” to allow corruption in the electoral process.

Police cordoned off the parliament building to prevent angry protesters from storming it, but the protest remained peaceful.

The leader of the We Continue the Change party, Kiril Petkov, called on Bulgarians to stand up for their rights and join the protest.

“Today is the day when the democratic vote of every Bulgarian citizen will be replaced, the day when we open the door to 15% invalid ballots, when the distortion of the vote makes the whole system work in a corrupt way”, he said. he declared before the event. .

Amendments to the Electoral Code were approved last week during an evening session of the National Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, with the support of the center-right GERB party of three-time Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the Socialist Party and of a party representing the Turkish ethnicity of Bulgaria. citizens.

The hasty move comes as a political stalemate in the European Union’s poorest member country has deepened the economic woes of many Bulgarians at a time of runaway inflation and rising energy costs.

Bulgaria is currently governed by an interim cabinet with limited powers following its fourth general election in less than two years.

The October election produced another fragmented parliament, where so far unsuccessful efforts to form a viable governing coalition will likely result in another election early next year.

ABC News

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