The parliamentary Committee on Interaction with Civic Organizations and Movements has carried out another public discussion regarding the different types of electoral systems. The discussion has taken place at the latest public forum held at the National Assembly with the participation of the country’s civil organizations and movements.
The proportional election system was presented by Plamen Tsekov, Head of the Managing Board of the Institute of Modern Politics. The combined (German) electoral system was presented by Prof. Emilia Drumeva and Prof. Mihail Konstantinov. The majority electoral system was presented by journalist Valery Naydenov.
Borislav Tsekov from the Institute of Modern Politics presented the advantages of the proportional representation system with preferences. He has outlined the three main objectives for change in the electoral system – giving more power to the voters and the civil organizations, providing guarantees for equality to the candidates and lowering the impact of vote-buying. He proposes a mandatory preference, i.e. the voter should vote for both a majority candidate and for a preferential candidate. In his view such system of voting will decrease the possibility for two or three big parties to monopolize the vote and will encourage the competition. He suggested also the introduction of civil organizations’ lists of candidates.
Some of the proposals of the civil organizations were for setting up a single list of their candidates, financing of political parties through SMS and the drop out of all restrictions for the participation of political parties. Plamen Zarkov of the group called “Protest” supported the idea the parties’ funding to be done through SMS messages thus ensuring transparency of the parties’ funds and formation. He confirmed the intention of his group to form a party as the only way to take part in the country’s governance. He added all restrictions for participation in the elections should be relinquished.
Prof. Emilia Drumeva and Prof. Mihail Konstantinov explained the essence of the German electoral system as a personalized predominantly proportional representation system with a strong majority system of voting’s element. The winning majoritarian candidates enter directly in the parliament becoming an integral part of the proportional lists of candidates, meaning they will take the first positions in the proportional lists. Mihail Konstantinov added only two EU member countries employ pure majority electoral system - England and France, two use mixed system and the rest have proportional representation system – some of them with preferential element.
Journalist Valery Naydenov has defended the majority electoral system. In his view this is the only way for a deputy to become legitimate, giving each district the opportunity to elect one representative with real majority of the votes. He pointed out that countries with majority electoral system never experience protests asking the parliament or the government to resign. In his words,” thanks to the current system the power in the country hangs over a nail stuck here on the yellow paving stones and the battle goes for whom to occupy the place and take out the nail”. He added this was the easiest way to usurpation of power. He further said that buying of votes in the majority electoral system becomes senseless.
According to Alexander Karakachanov from the Green Party the majority electoral system provides for a stable parliamentary majority but not for a stable government. People ask for change of the faces in parliament, for change of the political establishment, he further said. In his view the most appropriate system would be a majority electoral system with a central list of candidates elected through proportional representation. With a number of 240 national representatives the country would be divided in 120 electoral districts with parties and independent candidates running for election. There would be one vote allowing for the first 120 persons to enter the parliament, the remaining 120 places would be filled with the rest of the candidates that have not been able to enter.
Petya Tsoneva explained the civil organizations’ proposal for electoral system. The proposed system foresees the voters to decide for themselves which system to choose – the majority system or the party lists. The voters should elect candidates from two lists – the first drawn up by civil organizations for a majority candidate and the other by political parties. Thus the competition would be dynamic and reflect the society’s preferences and not the 50/50 option.
The meeting of the Committee on Interaction with Civic Organizations and Movements and the discussion were webcasted through the committee’s link on the Internet site of the National Assembly (www.parliament.bg under the “video” section).
The temporary parliamentary committee on the drawing up of new Election Code in accordance with its internal rules is planning to create a Citizens’ Council, to work together with the committee. Proposals on the part of civil organizations and movements for members to the Council are to be submitted until July 2, 2013 (Tuesday) through the following e-mail: email@example.com . The proposals should be accompanied by a short explanation of the motivation of the candidate and information on his/her expertise and professional experience.