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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ACT

PROMULGATED STATE GAZETTE No 82/04.10.1991;

Amended SG No. 98/1991, 44/1996, 59/1998

Article 1

This Act defines the procedure whereby the President and the Vice President of the Republic shall be elected.

Article 2

(1) The elections of President and Vice President shall be conducted simultaneously and throughout the country on the same non-workday.

(2) The President and the Vice President shall be elected on the same list of candidates.

Article 2 (a)

The organization and technical preparation of the elections shall be carried out by the Council of Ministers, the District Governors and the mayors.

Article 3

(1) Candidates for President and Vice President may be nominated by the political parties and party coalitions through the persons representing them, or by no fewer than 15,000 voters through an nomination committee.

(2) To be eligible to nominate candidates for President and Vice President, a party or party coalition must meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act, the requirements of the present Act and of the Election of Members of National Assembly, Municipal Councillors and Mayors Act.

(3) To nominate candidates for President and Vice President, voters must form a nomination committee of 5 to 7 voters, which shall register with the Central Elections Commission.

Article 4

Candidates for President and Vice President must meet the requirements of Articles 93 to 95 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Article 5

No later than fifty days before election day, the National Assembly shall elect a 21-member Central Elections Commission to conduct the presidential elections. The membership and the leadership of the Central Elections Commission shall reflect the basic ratio of parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly.

Article 6

(1) The candidates for President and Vice President shall be entered by the Central Elections Commission in a special register upon presentation of the following documents:

1. Nomination by the national leadership of the respective party or party coalition, which shall set forth the candidate's full name, date of birth, residence and address, or by the nomination committee of voters with the candidate’s full name, date of birth, residence and address, and an enclosed list of names, addresses, IDs and signatures of no fewer than 15,000 voters;

2. Affidavit to the effect that the candidate has resided in the country for the past five years;

3. The candidate's statement of acceptance regarding the nomination;

4. Bank document for deposit paid pursuant to Article 6a.

(2) Candidates for President and Vice President shall be registered no later than thirty-five days before election day.

(3) The Central Elections Commission shall register the candidates of parties, party coalitions and nomination committees, as well as the number of the ballot-paper for the respective list of candidates. Ballot- papers shall be white.

(4) The number of the ballot-paper of the individual lists shall be determined by the Central Elections Committee by means of drawing lots, after their registration.

(5) The documents submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be filed by sequence numbers. The sequence of submission shall determine the sequence of entry in the register of the Central Elections Commission.

Article 6 (a)

(1) Upon putting forward a nomination for President and Vice President the parties, political coalitions and the nomination committees shall deposit to an account with the Bulgarian National Bank election non-interest-bearing deposit to the amount of 250,000 Leva.

(2) After announcement of the final election results by decision of the Central Elections Commission the deposits shall be reimbursed to the political parties, party coalitions and nomination committees the candidates of which have received not less than 1 percent of the valid votes.

Article 7

(1) In cases of inconsistency with the requirements of the Constitution and of this Act, the Central Elections Commission shall issue a substantiated refusal to register the candidate. The nominating body shall be notified forthwith of such refusal.

(2) The nominating body concerned shall be free to appeal before the Supreme Court against such refusal of the Central Elections Commission as under the foregoing Paragraph 1 within three days of receiving notice thereof.

The Supreme Court shall issue a final ruling within three days.

Article 8

No later than twenty-five days before election day, the Central Elections Commission shall publish the lists of candidates with their full names, dates of birth, and residence, and the nominating party, party coalition or nomination committee in State Gazette.

Article 9

Voting shall be effected by white ballot-papers in conformity with a sample approved by the Central Elections Commission. A ballot-paper shall set forth:

1. The number of the ballot-paper determined by the Central Elections Commission by means of drawing lots;

2. The name of the political party or party coalition, or the inscription "инициативен комитет " [nomination committee], which have registered the respective list;

3. The full names of the candidates for President and Vice President.

Article 10

The election campaign shall open on the date that the names of the candidates shall be published in State Gazette and shall close twenty-four hours before election day.

Article 10 (a)

The elections for President and Vice President shall be con-ducted on the basis of voter registries.

Article 10 (b)

(1) Voter registries shall be compiled by the municipal administrations at the municipalities or mayor offices where population registrars are kept, they shall be printed on the grounds of centralized data bases and signed by the mayor and the secretary of the municipality, and respectively by the mayor and if an appointed secretary exists - by him.

(2) The lists of army conscripts shall be compiled at the respective military unit under the supervision of the commander who shall sign and send them to the municipal administration or mayor office on whose territory the military unit is located no later than thirty-five days before election day.

(3) Generals (admirals), officers, NCOs and hired civilian employees of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria shall be entered into the voter registries at the place of their residence according to their address registration as per the election day.

(4) Bulgarian citizens with permanent or temporary residence abroad shall be entered in voter registries compiled by the diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria, after they have stated their desire to take part in the elections by statement in writing containing the following data: full name, place and date of birth, ID number, series and number of passport for travel abroad. The voters may cast their vote after presentation of passport for travel abroad.

Article 10 (c)

(1) Voter registries shall be compiled for each voting section separately.

(2) The voter registries shall include the names of the voters who have address registration on the territory of the respective municipality or mayoralty at least two months prior to the elections day. Voters who have changed their address registration after the abovesaid term shall be entered in the voter registry at their former address registration. Entered shall be also the names of citizens who are franchised as on the election day.

(3) A voter registry shall list in alphabetical order the three names, address and Unique Citizens Code Number (ID number) of each voter. Should in the course of the last six months prior to the elections day changes occur in the name of the settlement, the street, the quarter, the housing complex or in their numbers, the voter registry shall also list their former names or numbers.

(4) Each voter shall be entered into only one voter registry.

(5) The names of persons who by election day have been disfranchised or have deceased shall be deleted from the voter registries.

Article 10 (d)

(1) A voter changing his or her place of residence for more than ten days during the period from making the registry public to election day, may request the municipal administration or mayor office where he or she has been entered into the voter registry to be issued a licence to vote elswhere. Licences for voting elsewhere shall be signed by the mayor or an official authorized thereby.

(2) A voter who has received a licence to vote elsewhere shall be deleted from the registry where he or she has been originally entered and shall be entered by the Sectional Elections Commission at the place of the temporary sojourn on election day into a separate list signed by the chairman and the secretary of the Commission. The entry shall be effected on the basis of the licence to vote elsewhere and personal passport for this country, and for army conscripts - of military ID book.

(3) Licences to vote elsewhere may not be issued on election day.

(4) Municipal administrations and mayor offices shall keep a special register of the licences issued. Recipients of such licences shall depose an affidavit that they shall vote at only one place.

Article 10 (e)

(1) Registries of voters shall be made public by municipal administrations and mayor offices at least thirty days prior to election day.

(2) Municipal administrations or mayor offices shall submit copies of the prepared voter registries at the request of political parties or nomination committees, having nominated President and Vice President against payment.

Article 10 (f)

(1) Any voter may request an amendment or adjustment of the voter registry through entry or deletion of a voter, or elimination of other mistakes or omissions in the list of voters.

(2) The request as per paragraph (1) shall be submitted in writing to the mayor or a person authorized thereby not later than 7 days before the elections day. The mayor or the person authorized thereby shall consider the request within 2 days and take a substantiated decision which shall be notified forthwith to the applicant and also notified at a public place.

(3) Within three days of the decision or upon the expiry of the term as per paragraph (2), any interested person may appeal the decision before the district court of law. The court shall consier the appeal at an open sitting within 2 days of receipt thereof and shall summon the claimant, the mayor or a person authorized thereby, and shall issue a ruling to be announced immediately. The ruling of the court shall be final.

(4) The adjustments and amendments to the registries of voters shall be subject to immediate announcement.

Article 10 (g)

The originals of the voter registries and the other election papers shall be kept by the municipal administration until the next elections.

Article 10 (h)

Voter registries in hospitals, maternity wards, sanatoria, rest and recreation facilities, homes for aged persons and others, as well as on board of vessels sailing under the Bulgarian flag shall be compiled by the head of the respective facility or the captain of the vessel on the basis of identity documents (passports). The head of the facility or the captain of the vessel shall notify the municipal administration or mayor office of their permanent places of residence about the entry into the registry there in order to delete them from the respective registries at the places of their permanent residence. New arrivals at such institutions on election day shall not be entered in their voter registry and shall not vote.

Article 10 (k)

(1) One election section shall include up to 1,000 citizens. In settlements with more than 1,000 citizens shall be formed as many sections as the times the number of 1,000 is contained in the number of citizens. Where the remaining number exceeds or equals 500 citizens a separate section shall be formed, and where the remaining number is less than 500 citizens the voters shall be distributed to the neighbouring sections.

(2) As an exception the mayors of municipalities may, by proposal of the regional elections commissions, form election sections with less than 500 citizens, but not less than 30 voters.

Article 10 (l)

(1) For the purpose of holding elections the following shall be formed:

1. Central Elections Commission;

2. Regional elections commissions;

3. Section elections commissions.

(2) Persons included as members of the elections commissions shall be relieved of their official duties for the time necessary for work at the respective commissions. They shall be entitled to unpaid official leave for such period of time, which shall be recognized as length of service in their specialty with the same employer, or should they request so - they may use their due annual paid leave. The remuneration of members of the Central Elections Commission shall be determined by the National Assembly, and that of members of other elections commissions - by the Central Elections Commission.

(3) Regional elections commissions shall be appointed by the Central Elections Commission not later than 45 days prior to the elections day, by proposal of district governors and in consulation with representatives for the respective election region, authorized by the national leaderships of political parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly, which have registered lists of candidates for President and Vice President. Where no agreement has been reached the district governors shall propose to the Central Elections Commission membership of the regional elections commissions in compliance with the representation of the political parties and coalitions in the National Assembly.

(4) Section elections commissions shall be appointed not later than 35 days prior to the election day, by proposal of mayors of municipalities in consultation with the local leaderships of political parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly. Where no agreement has been reached, mayors of municipalities shall propose to regional elections commissions membership of the section elections commissions in compliance with the representation of political parties and coalitions in the National Assembly.

(5) By proposal of the representatives of the political parties and coalitions under paragraphs (3) and (4) as members of the regional and section elections commissions may also be nominated representatives of extra-Parliamentary political parties and coalitions, as well as non-party members.

Article 10 (m)

(1) A regional elections commission shall comprise a Chairman, two Deputy Chairmen, a secretary and 3 to 7 members. The majority of the members of the regional elections commission should be lawyers, if possible.

(2) A section elections commission shall comprise a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, a secretary and up to 4 members.

(3) In the course of determining the membership and leadership of regional and section elections commissions the basic ratio shall be retained as between political parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly.

Article 10 (n)

(1) The Central Elections Commission shall:

1. supervise the implementation of this Act, and shall exercise methodological management of the operations of regional and section elections commissions, and shall consider appeals against acts and actions of regional elections commissions. It shall announce final decisions thereon within 3 days and notify such decisions;

2. set forth the terms and procedures for participation in the elections of observers from this country and from abroad, and shall provide them with the respective document;

3. set forth by decision the terms and conditions for conducting election campaign in the national and local mass media;

4. supervise the conducting of the election campaign in the national mass media;

5. register observers of the candidates for President and Vice President and issue certificates thereto according to an established specimen;

6. assign by competitive tender the computer processing of data from the elections and the issue of bulletin with elections results;

7. determine the number of ballot-papers by drawing lots.

(2) (Amended, SG No 59/1998) Decisions of the Central Elections Commission shall be subject to appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court within 3 days following their notification. The Court shall consider the appeal within 3 days of the receipt thereof at an open sitting, and shall summon the appellant, the Central Elections Committee and the parties concerned. The decision of the court shall be final.

(3) The regional elections commissions:

1. supervise the implementation of this Act on the territory of the election region and exercise control over actions of their section elections commissions, as well as over the timely and proper formation of election sections;

2. supervise the timely compilation and announcement of voter registries, as well as the issue of licences for voting elsewhere;

3. consider appeals against decisions and actions of the section elections commissions and announce their decisions within 3 days time period;

4. submit to the Central Elections Commission the protocols from section elections commissions;

5. control the conduct of the election campaign in local mass media.

(4) Decisions of the regional elections commissions shall be subject to appeal before the Central Elections Commission within 3 days of the announcement thereof. The Central Elections Commission shall consider the appeal within 3 days of its receipt and make decision, which shall be final and notified forthwith.

(5) Section elections commissions:

1. prepare, organize and ensure the free and peaceful voting at election sections;

2. count the ballot-papers, prepare in compliance with a specimen the protocols for voting results and submit them to the respective regional elections commission within 24 hours following the completion of voting;

3. consider appeals and decide on them forthwith.

(6) On elections day the instructions of the Chairman of the section elections commission shall be mandatory for all persons within the elections premises. These instructions may be repealed by decision of the section elections committee.

(7) The protocols of the respective election commission shall be signed by all members of the commission on each and every page. Any member of the commission who does not agree with the contents of the protocol shall sign it by stating dissenting opinion which shall be entered in the protocol. Where for some objective reasons a member of the commission is prevented from signing the protocol, that should be explicitly indicated together with the reasons thereof. The failure of a member of the commission to sign the protocol for some personal, political or other reasons shall not invalidate it.

Article 11

Throughout the election campaign, candidates shall receive equal coverage in the news programmes of the national mass media.

Article 11 (a)

(1) The election campaign shall start and end with adresses of the candidates for President and Vice President broadcasted by the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio, whereas the sequence of adresses shall be determined by drawing lots according to procedure specified by the Central Elections Commission.

(2) The Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio shall prepare blocks of speeches of not less than two but not more than six pairs of candidates per day. The candidates on the lists for President and Vice President shall have seven minutes for their addresses at the start of the campaign and five minutes at the end of the campaign.

(3) The Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio shall provide for disputes television and radio broadcast time of 120 minutes once per week. The topics for disputes shall be specified in consultation between the observers of the lists of candidates for President and Vice President registered for participation in the elections by the political parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly. The consultations shall be organized by the General Directors of the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio.

(4) Half of the time for disputes under paragraph (3) shall be distributed between the lists for President and Vice President registered by the political parties and coalitions represented in the National Assembly, pro rata to their representation. The other half of the time under paragraph (3) shall be distributed in equal parts to the lists for President and Vice President registered by political parties and coalitions which are not represented in the National Assembly or by nomination committees, but not more than five minutes per list of candidates.

(5) The order of presentation in the disputes broadcasted by the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio shall be set by drawing lots.

(6) The teams and the conditions for realization of the disputes shall be determined jointly by the General Directors of the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio and the observers for the lists of candidates for President and Vice President registered for participation in the elections.

(7) The regional television centers, the regional radio stations, the municipal and local radio broadcasting units shall provide up to two hours of television and radio broadcasting time per week for pre-election broadcasts.

(8) The Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio, the regional television and radio centers and the private television and radio stations shall include in their information broadcasts reports about processions, meetings, concerts and other events organized by parties, coalitions and independent candidates, in compliance with the principle of equality in respect of duration, time and variable sequence of broadcasts.

Article 11 (b)

(1) The regional television centers, the regional radio stations, the local and municipal radio broadcasting units shall provide up to two hours television and radio broadcasting time for disputes.

(2) The topics for the disputes, the order for their realization and the participation of the candidates shall be set according to the provisions of Article 11a.

(3) Entitled to participation in television and radio disputes shall be the candidates for President, Vice President and their observers, within the time period they are entitled to.

Article 11 (c)

(1) In case a second round of elections is to be held, the candidates shall be entitled to make addresses by broadcasts of the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio on the last day of the election campaign between the two rounds, within a time limit of 10 minutes, whereas the sequence of addresses shall be determined by drawing lots by procedure set forth by the Central Elections Commission.

(2) By mutual agreement throughout the period between the two rounds, within the specified broadcast time by the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio, the candidates may hold disputes of duration up to 90 minutes. The topic of the dispute and the order of its realization shall be pursuant to the provisions of Article 11a.

(3) The events under paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not be paid by the candidates.

Article 11 (d)

(1) The participation in the pre-election disputes on the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio shall be paid prior to broadcasting and according to tariffs specified by the Council of Ministers.

(2) The addresses of the candidates shall be free of charge.

(3) The television and radio stations and the cable television operators owned by natural and legal persons may provide broadcast time for the election campaign of the candidates at equal prices announced in advance.

(4) Foreign radio stations broadcating from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria shall not provide broadcasting time for election campaign.

Article 11 (e)

(1) In case of violations of the order for conducting the election campaign by the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio the candidates concerned may file claims with the Central Elections Commission. The claims shall be considered provided they have been submitted within 24 hours of the respective broadcast.

(2) In case of violations of the order for conducting the election campaign by the regional television centers, radio stations, municipal and local radio units, the candidates concerned may file claims with the regional election commission. The claims shall be considered provided they have been submitted within 24 hours of the respective broadcast.

(3) Decisions of the election commissions in respect of paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be mandatory for the mass media.

Article 11 (f)

(1) For the purpose of holding elections for President and Vice Pesident the territory of this country shall be divided into 31 election regions, coinciding with the election regions for the last elections of people’s deputies.

(2) The voting and calculation of votes shall be effected by election sections to be formed by order of the mayor of the respective municipality not later than 45 days prior to the election day.

(3) The regional elections commissions shall set the numbers of election sections in compliance with the uniform numbers of sections determined by decision of the Central Elections Commission not later than 30 days prior to the elections day.

(4) The election sections at diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Bulgaria shall be formed by the heads thereof not later than 14 days prior to the elections day, provided at least 30 voters have stated their desire to take part in the elections pursuant to Article 10b, paragraph (4).

Article 12

(1) The total amount used to finance the election campaign of each list of candidates may not exceed 2,000,000 levs.

(2) Candidates for President and Vice President shall be free to receive campaign contributions of up to 50,000 levs each. No foreign State, nor any foreign natural or corporate person, nor any state-owned enterprise or joint venture shall finance a candidate's election campaign.

(3) Some 50 percent of the funds provided by the budget for financing the election campaign shall be allocated in equal parts among the candidates of parties and coalitions which are represented in the National Assembly and have nominated their own candidates or joint candidates with another political party or coalition. The candidates nominated by parties, coalitions and nomination committees may receive short-term interest-free loans from the remaining funds of the budget allocated for financing of the election campaign. The amounts shall be provided upon presentation of bank guarantee. The candidates for President and Vice President who have obtained less than 1 percent of the valid votes in the elections shall reimburse the amounts received. The procedure for providing and reimbursement of funds shall be specified by the Council of Ministers.

Article 13

Should a registered candidate be incapacitated by death or grave illness, he may be replaced by another candidate not later than 7 days before election day. Articles 3 to 7 shall apply accordingly.

Article 14

The act of voting shall be recorded in the voter's passport with the text "Voted for President" and the date of election day.

Article 15

(1) The results of the first round of balloting shall be announced by the Central Elections Commission immediately after their determination and no later than forty-eight hours after the election day has been declared closed.

(2) If none of the candidates succeed in gaining a victory, the Central Elections Commission shall announce the two leading candidates from the lists which have won the highest number of votes and shall hold a second round of the elections within the time provided by Article 93, Paragraph (4) of the Constitution.

(3) The election campaign pursuant to the foregoing Paragraph (2) shall open upon the announcement of the candidates and shall close twenty-four hours before the day of the second round.

Article 16

(1) Should any of the leading candidates decline to enter the second round, the latter shall be contested by the candidates from the runner-up list established by the Central Elections Commission.

(2) Should any of the leading candidates be incapacitated by death or grave illness, the Central Elections Commission shall postpone the election and shall set a new date 14 days after the original date set for the second round. The national leadership of the respective party or party coalition shall be free to register a new candidate pursuant to the procedure under Article 3 hereof within three days from the ruling of the Central Elections Commission.

Article 17

(1) The final results of the election for President and Vice President shall be announced by the Central Elections Commission within three days as of the date of the second round and shall be proclaimed in State Gazette within seven days as of the same.

(2) The results shall be announced by lists for all of the candidates. In the case of a second round election, the results of the first round of balloting shall be announced as well.

Article 18

The President and the Vice President elect shall be sworn in pursuant to Article 76, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria three days prior to the expiry of the mandate of the acting President and Vice President. They shall take office on the day of expiry of the mandate of the acting President and Vice President.

Article 18 (a)

(1) Persons who violate the established order for conducting the election campaign shall be penalized by fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Leva.

(2) Persons who violate the provisions of this Act on financing the election campaign and the accounting of funds shall be penalized by fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Leva.

Article 18 (b)

The acts for ascertainment of administrative violations shall be prepared by the mayors or the chairmen of election commissions.

Article 18 (c)

(1) The penal rulings shall be issued by the district governors.

(2) The penal rulings on acts for ascertainment of violations in conducting the election campaign in the Bulgarian National Television, the Bulgarian National Radio, as well as on acts for ascertained violations in respect of Article 19, shall be issued by the Sofia district governor.

(3) The ascertainment of violations, the elaboration of acts, the issuing and appealing of penal rulings shall be pursuant to the terms and procedure of the Administrative Violations and Penalties Act.

Article 19

Within a month as of the date of the election, all the candidates for President and Vice President shall make a statement before the National Assembly of the sources of finance and the expenses for their election campaign.

§ 1. The samples of documents and ballot papers required for the holding of elections under this Act shall be approved by the Central Elections Commission on proposal by of the Council of Ministers, and shall be promulgated in the State Gazette.

§ 2. The relevant provisions of the Election of Members of National Assembly, Municipal Councillors and Mayors Act shall apply to any matter not settled by this Act.

§ 3. This Act is hereby referred for enforcement to the Council of Ministers and to the Central Elections Commission for the Presidential Elections.

This Act was submitted to a vote and duly adopted by the Grand National Assembly on September 17, 1991, and the State Seal was affixed hereto.

Acting Chairman of the Grand National Assembly: Ivan Gloushkov

Note: The amendments and adjustments have been introduced with the Amendment Act to the Presidential

Elections Act (SG No 82/1991) which was submitted to a vote and duly adopted by the 36th National Assembly on November 27th, 1991, and the State Seal was affixed hereto, and the Amendment Act to the Presidential Elections Act (SG No 44/1996) which was submitted to a vote and duly adopted by the 37th National Assembly on May 9th, 1996, and the State Seal was affixed hereto.