Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

USA is disappointed with the changes in the election legislation in Bulgaria

Adelina Marini, April 29, 2009

The American ambassador to Bulgaria Nancy McEldowney said she was disappointed with the hasty changes in the election law in Bulgaria, She said this during her lecture in the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" about the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and the US. Ambassador McEldowney called on all Bulgarian citizens to vote in the very important for Bulgaria elections on the 5th of July. She also emphasized that it was very important the elections to be transparent and she hoped that the next government, whatever it is, will remain engaged with the transatlantic values and the strategic partnership with the US.

Later with journalists she clarified that a few months ago the "Integrity pact" was concluded for fair and transparent elections. The pact was presented by a group of non-governmental ogranisations, including the Open society institute and which, she said, was a great idea. In the Pact there were elements whose task was to improve the integrity of the process which would lead to more reliability of results. Some of the elements in the Pact were included in the changes of the electoral law, especially the higher penalties for the buying of votes as well as the additional clauses for financing of political parties campaigns. But the American ambassador said she regretted that the idea for the creation of separate counting centres has not been included in the legislation.

Nancy McEldowney also expressed surprise with the hasty changes made in the last moment that provoked bitter disputes in Parliament in the media. She didn't mention specifically the barrier of 8 % for coalitions to enter the Parliament but she called on students during her lecture to vote at any price because this is the only way a strong civil society to be built. She also reminded that the Bulgarian citizens still expect politicians who have abused with public trust should spend some time in jail and that connections between politicians and shadow businessmen should also be cut off.