Non-governmental organizations from the Public Council at CEC with a joint statement on the training of CEC
Non-governmental organizations from the Public Council at CEC with a joint statement on the training of CEC

At a joint working meeting, the Central Electoral Commission and the Public Council discussed the results of the elections for MPs. They also made recommendations on improving the elections preparation process and on possible changes to the electoral legislation. The meeting was also attended by Desislava Nikolova, National Coordinator of the Civil Observers at the Institute for Social Integration (ISI).

The general opinion of the Non-governmental organizations was that the elections on 26.03.2017 were held without serious violations, mass complaints and signals. Despite the current conditions of a caretaker government, the elections were absolutely organized. Alerts and complaints are dramatically less than at previous elections.

The problem, however, remains the qualification of the members of the sectional election commissions, most of which were being changed even at the last minute. The main topic that was raised was the appointment of committee members and their adequate training. Most members are not fully aware of electoral rules and rely on advocates or observers. For example, violations such as - dividing voter lists, pre-tearing out of ballots and their ends, or dictating out loud voters' personal data are some of the most common. The suggestion of the Public Council was to have permanent members of the section committees with experience or ones who are well-trained, a goal which requires a serious investment. Another problem that was pointed out was the agitation in a foreign language, the fines for which are too low. Therefore, the infringing parties are not really prevented from repeating the violation.

Also, gathering of advocates of the same party in an electoral room was reported as a serious violation, who have an impact with their presence itself - for example, when counting the votes.

The Institute for Social Integration is currently drafting its final report on the election observation, including recommendations for improving the process. Once it is finished, it will be sent to CEC members.