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Temporary Committee on the Draft Election Code considers drop of immunity for Member of Parliament candidates

On its sitting held July 4, 2013 the committee has discussed the possible drop out of the immunity of future candidates for Members of Parliament. The Chair of the committee, Maya Manolova, has noted that Bulgaria was the only country in Europe  keeping such immunity. She pointed out that withholding the immunity of candidates for parliament was also recommended by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

MRF Member of Parliament Chetin Kazak said what the solution  could be was not complete relinquish of immunity but lowering its scope in order to give future candidates basic protection against political encroachments.

Maya Manolova presented to the committee the proposals made by citizens' organizations – one suggesting complete elimination of the money deposit for participation in elections and introduction of one step registration instead of the current two steps. Members of the committee have suggested diminishing the parties’ money deposits for participation in elections to BGN 2500, for the coalitions to BGN 5000, for the initiative committees to the symbolic BGN 500. Chetin Kazak commented that the money deposit was guarantee for the candidate’s serious intention.

Another discussion related to the required signatures for registration was carried and the members of the committee agreed that the number could be decreased to 2500 for parties and to 1% of the voters for independent candidates in a particular constituency but to no more than 1000.

Discussed were other proposals such as to introduce higher education of candidates, experience in social and political organizations and so on.
The committee heard also representatives of the Central Electoral Commission about problems faced by the commission in implementing of the code, the organization of the presidential, local and parliamentary elections.

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