President Radev launches general election consultations

Photo: BTA

At the initiative of the head of state, Rumen Radev, the presidency has launched a round of consultations aimed at formulating the necessary steps to ensure fair and transparent election process that will guarantee the health and voting right of Bulgarian citizens.

The first meetings were with health officials and took place on Tuesday, 5 January. The president spoke to Minister of Healthcare Prof Kostadin Angelov, Assoc Prof Angel Kunchev and Prof Krasimir Gigov, MD, PhD.

There are numerous options for holding the elections - individual polling places, lifting quarantine for a period of one or two hours, lists of people placed under quarantine - said Assoc Prof Angel Kunchev during the meeting. According to him, health officials have been in talks with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) and Vice PM Tomislav Donchev, but the CEC will have the final say on what options are actually viable.

Kunchev said that there are several factors in play with unclear-as-of-yet impact on the crisis. One of them is the uncertainty over whether the now suppressed rate of infections will remain low. The new strains of the virus and the growing number of vaccinated people are also of significance. “Keeping those factors in mind, the general measures we foresee are using personal protective equipment, disinfecting and avoiding crowds, but it is hard to tell exactly what the process will be right now. For our part, we will issue clear recommendations and protocols,” he explained.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov shared that the action plan for holding elections during a pandemic has been developed over the past two months and will be presented the day President Radev officially sets a date for the vote.

“For more than two months, we have all been working with the unofficial deadline of 28 March in mind, the entire county is gearing up towards having elections on that day,” Minister Angelov said. “The current situation requires us to guide the country and its people through this crisis before anyone can pursue their own goals,” he added. He noted that the plan that is being developed concerns measures that will allow Bulgarians to vote safely and guarantee every citizen's right to vote, even those who are sick and under quarantine.

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