The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) has decided to stand firm in support of the amendment to the Elections Act stipulating an eight per cent election threshold for political coalitions, despite President Georgi Purvanov 's veto, Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily quoted a BSP MP as saying on April 15 2009.
The BSP took the decision a few hours after Purvanov, a former BSP leader, decided to veto the amendment adopted on April 13 2009. It kept the threshold for political parties at the current four per cent but raised the threshold for political coalitions to eight per cent, less than three months ahead of the elections.
Purvanov said that the amendment had been "adopted at the last possible moment" and was "a danger to political pluralism and narrows the list of the political forces in Parliament, which could lead to Parliament's instability".
The amendment was supported by two of the three ruling coalition parties – the BSP and the Movement for Right and Freedoms (MRF) – and by two opposition parties - the Order, Law and Justice (OLJ) party and ultra-nationalist Ataka party.
The third party in the ruling coalition, the National Movement for Stability and Progress, abstained from voting.
It was the OLJ that tabled the amendment which was severely criticised by the opposition and many political analysts. They said that it was the ruling parties' way to change the rules of the political game at the last possible moment in an attempt to hang on to power after the elections.
Dnevnik quoted a BSP MP who said that the BSP would not back down in the face of Purvanov's veto and would continue supporting the amendment as an act of loyalty to the MRF which insisted on the raised threshold.
"Purvanov got what he wanted and knows that the price of this was the increased threshold," the BSP MP said. He was referring to another amendment to the Elections Act - specifying that 31 out of 240 MPs will be elected by majority vote - which Purvanov welcomed.