ELECTIONS COMMISSION EMERGES AMONG SCANDALS
The threats of Vessela Draganova and Tosho Peikov that they would approach the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) about the President's decree by which the Central Electoral Commission for the Local Elections (CECLE), will remain just words. The two small parties insisted to have two representatives in the commission, but the NMSII let them have only one. President Georgi Parvanov conformed with NMSII's will. On August 8 he appointed the proposed CECLE's members, represening the political forces in Parliament. From the 21 members of the commission 10 are representatives of the NMSII coalition, 4 of UDF and BSP each, 2 from MRF, and 1 from the splinter group National Ideal for Unity (NIE). NMSII's quota includes only lawyers: Maria Pavlova, chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) for the last presidential elections; Bisser Trayanov, spokesman of the same commission; the doctor in law Alexander Dimitrov, the lawyer Ivan Minev, the judge from the Sofia Court of Appeal Mina Topuzakova, and CEC's deputy head in the 2001 elections Peter Obretenov (then from BBB's quota). The new members of the CECLE are: Tsvetozariya Kateva, wife of the Sofia Region Governor Olimpi Katev, Yassenka Shigarminova and Emil Penkov. Antoaneta Grueva from the Bulgarian Women's Party is the representative of the mandate-holders.UDF's four-member quota inludes two lawyers - Iliyana Rizova and Krassimir Valev, and two mathematicians - Ilarion Ilarionov and Michail Konstantinov. Coalition for Bulgaria appointed the lawyers Svetla Dimitrova, Roumyana Siderova and Alexander Alexandrov (representative of the political movement Social Democrats) and the mathematician Alexander Petrov. MRF's two representatives in the CECLE are the former head of the youth MRF Mustafa Karadaya and the President's adviser from MRF's quota Sabrie Sapundjieva. Alexander Evlogiev - lawyer and former deputy regional judge of Pazardjik as well as NIE's expert in the parliamentary commission for constinutional amendments - will represent NIE in the commission.The flaws in the Local Elections Act created other disagreements as well, but they won't give grounds for contesting the legitimacy of the vote. Disputes arose on who should invite the commission's first session, as the law does not explicitely stipulate that. This could be either done by the President who has appointed it or by the Parliament, or the CECLE might decide itself when to call its first meeting. The effective law makes no provisions on who is to fix the salaries of the commission's members, but on August 12 the Head of State issued a decree on their remuneration. CECLE's head will get BGN1,275.30 (almost the pay of a minister); his deputies and the commission's secretary will be paid 90% of the head's salary, or BGN1,147.77; the other members will get 85% of the Chairperson's remuneration, i.e. BGN1,084.The electoral lists for the local elections have already been prepared. They include 7,000,000 voters. CECLE's first task will be to invite a tender for the scrutineer of votes. During the presidential elections in 2001 the chosen firm made a mess by failing to poll the votes after the first round and practically fizzled out. The elections' legitimacy was not contested only because of the large margin between the two candidates who participated in the second round.