Mr. Rumen Radev to the Bulgarian National Radio: Through Legislative, Technological and Organisational Mechanisms We Must Eliminate Manipulations in the Election Process
I have never insinuated lack of trust in the election process. During public dialogues and consultations with competent authorities and political parties I have insistently pointed out the negatives in our elections that we must take care of together. There are problems that we must overcome through different mechanisms – legislative, technological and organisational, said the Head of State Mr. Rumen Radev in an interview for the Sunday 150 show on the Bulgarian National Radio.
Mr. Rumen Radev justified the necessity of seeking solutions through machine voting with the extremely high number of invalid ballots at elections in Bulgaria and the widespread controlled vote: “In Bulgaria, with 50% voter turnout, we have on average about 5% invalid ballots. This means that we lose an entire party’s worth that could have entered the Bulgarian Parliament. This also means a skewing of the vote of Bulgarian citizens,” the President declared. When questioned about the decision of the Netherlands to suspend machine voting, the President evoked the publicly exposed corrupt practices surrounding elections in Bulgaria: “In the Netherlands, you would hardly see on YouTube a videotape of a conference of the party that governed Bulgaria until just recently, where the regional coordinator instructed those present how to manufacture invalid ballots and indicated someone from whom they could all draw rich experience,” the Head of State said.
The President voiced his opinion that voting machines would eliminate manipulations in vote counting and filling out election protocols. “I am not saying it is the best. But we have brought it upon ourselves to spend money to somehow increase honesty,” stated Mr. Rumen Radev. The
President emphasised that machines significantly contributed to limiting the controlled vote and further added that with machine voting it is impossible to give an account of bought votes, while voting by paper ballot easily violates vote secrecy.
The Head of State described the representatives in the newly appointed Central Election Commission at the initiative of political parties as valuable experts, people with experience and motivation: “I hope they use their experience fruitfully, unite and do not allow political interference to lead to new discords in the CEC. These people have the capacity and ambition to hold really good elections.”
When asked about the claims that he concealed his support for a declaration condemning Russia during a videoconference meeting of the Bucharest 9 Initiative, Mr. Rumen Radev replied that the lack of competence demonstrated by the former executive regarding the decision-making processes in the European Union and lack of knowledge in terms of the mechanisms of presenting national positions in its various formats is surprising. “It is a pity. When we say Bulgaria’s voice is not heard in the EU and that Bulgaria cannot fully realise its potential as a full-fledged member of the Union, it is precisely there that we should seek the reasons. Maybe it is a problem of a language barrier, but we have reached a situation of complete misunderstanding and fact manipulation. It must be clear who takes a position – whoever represents Bulgaria in the EU is part of the joint positions and joint statements.”
The Head of State once again emphasised his stance that “compromises are completely unacceptable and any interference in our national security must be prosecuted.”
Mr. Rumen Radev also refuted the claims of representatives of the former government of his remaining silent regarding the spy scandals on Bulgarian territory. “The epitome of brazenness is to claim such things, considering the fact that you have let Russian agents poison Bulgarian citizens for years, blow up our warehouses of military produce, as the State Agency for National Security and the Prosecutor’s Office claim. You covered up their actions, and allowed for a huge breach in national security because you did not implement the policies for organising and controlling access to classified information,” the President said. The Head of State also emphasised that the accusations of the former people in power are completely untenable since they paid an exorbitant price for the Turkish Stream, formed God knows how, from our money, without asking society, depriving Bulgaria of huge fees, owed under a contract with Gazprom for the Trans-Balkan pipeline and allowed Gazprom to take over all entrance and exit points of the pipelines passing through Bulgaria, with which the entire concept of the so-called “Balkan Stream” vanished.
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