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  July 28, 2015 

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The Bulgarian Community in Sydney

The Bulgarian Community and Culture Association "Rodina" is the focal point for Bulgarians and the Bulgarian culture in Sydney and New South Wales.  We organise regular BBQs, dances and social events as well as support the Bulgarian School in Sydney.  Our community includes people with Bulgarian heritage, partners of Bulgarians and people interested in the Bulgarian Culture.  As part of Multi-Cultural Australia we aim to contribute and enrich its diverse culture.  We also provide orientation and help for Bulgarians newly arrived in Sydney and New South Wales.

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Reform of Voting Rules, Judiciary Key to Solving Bulgaria's Problems – President
Tuesday, 28th July 2015

Nearly all of Bulgaria's problems have their origin in the judicial system and electoral law, President Rosen Plevneliev has said.

This is the first time he has compared changes to voting rules and the judicial reform, two issues which he supports avidly.

In an address to Parliament which he used to present his proposal for questions in an upcoming referendum on election rules, the head of state has called on lawmakers to approve the list of three questions which will be offered to citizens to have their say this autumn.

Plevneliev made his point during an extraordinary meeting of MPs just days before their summer recess.

The three issues he wants Bulgarians to be asked about are the introduction of a majority system, compulsory voting, and remote electronic voting. 

“Weak economic growth, corruption...  all are results of an ineffective judicial system and unsustainable electoral process,” he argued from the rostrum, adding both reforms required “the will and support of the people” in order to be realized.

This is the second time Plevneliev is seeking to organize the referendum after the same set of questions was rejected by Parliament last year.  The poll was then proposed by an Initiative Committee thought to be affiliated to the President and it had to collect 0.5 million signatures in a petition to force Parliament into calling a referendum.  A vast part of the signatures collected, however, were declared void. 

If made by a head of state, such a request has to be considered by Parliament under Bulgaria's constitution.

MPs are due to decide later on Tuesday whether or not to support the questions.  Their approval would pave the way for the President to set a final date for the referendum.

He warned the current voting rules failed to provide stability and led to “ceaseless accusations of manipulation and vote buying instead” and helped keep many Bulgarians “away from the country's political process.”

Defending compulsory voting, he explained that the more Bulgarians take part in elections, the more legitimate their vote will be and the more confidence institutions will instill.
 
On the option of remote voting, he opined that it is up to the state to give every Bulgarian citizen an opportunity to cast a ballot, even beyond the country's borders, and even in local elections and referendums (under the law, Bulgarians can vote in Bulgarian elections in polling stations set up by embassies abroad, but only to pick a Parliament and a head of state).

A vote on the referendum questions is one of the four items on the agenda as the deadline is looming to finally approve the questions and for President Plevneliev to set October 25 as a date for the national poll.

He maintains the referendum should be held on that date in order to coincide with local elections, a step which is expected to make it easier and cheaper to organize both votes.



Bulgaria’s President to Present Referendum Questions in Parliament
Tuesday, 28th July 2015

Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev will present his proposal for referendum questions on election legislation on Tuesday in Parliament.

Plevneliev will address MPs during an extraordinary parliamentary meeting, according to the President’s press office.

One item of the agenda of the meeting concerns the request of the President to hold a referendum together with the local elections on October 25.

Plevneliev suggests three questions, including ones on compulsory voting, majority voting, and remote electronic voting.

The parliamentary legal affairs committee gave the green light to Plevneliev’s three questions on July 1.



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About Us

The Bulgarian Cultural and Social Association "Rodina" promotes Bulgarian culture, traditions and language among the Bulgarian community in NSW.  For over 30 years we have been fostering knowledge and understanding about the Bulgarian culture and history by organising social events, forums, exhibitions, performances and other public initiatives.  We seek to strengthen the social, economic, educational and cultural ties between Australia and Bulgaria.  Therefore, maintaining a close relationship with Australian organisations and institutions in Australia is of significant importance to us.  As part of Multi-Cultural Australia we aim to contribute and enrich its diverse culture.  Rodina collaborates and co-operates with other Bulgarian and cultural organisations in Australia.