MOSCOW, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - Bulgarian ex-prime minister King Simeon II has urged his fellow countrymen to vote in a referendum on the future of the Belene nuclear power plant project, according to a statement posted on his website Thursday.
The referendum is to take place on January 27.
“On January 27, I will vote. I hope so will the majority of my compatriots because this is not only an expression of opinion on the issue at hand - we will also demonstrate responsible behavior by European citizens who are able to determine their own future,” the king said.
Bulgaria's center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, government scrapped the Belene project in March 2012, declaring it economically unfeasible. The pro-Belene Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, then launched a petition for a referendum on the Russian-Bulgarian project.
Discussions renewed recently on the abandoned project, with Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport upping its claim against Bulgaria's National Electricity Co. to 1 billion euros and a mysterious investment fund emerging with an offer to take over the project.
Bulgaria’s right-leaning Blue Coalition has challenged the legality of such a referendum.
The voters will receive a white ballot with the question "Should atomic energy be developed in Bulgaria through the building of a new Atomic Plant?" There will be an option to choose "yes" or "no" by using a blue ink pen.
Under current legislation in order to have a valid referendum at least 4 345 500 people must cast a ballot which is equal to the voter turnout at the last general election. A positive answer to the question of the referendum requires 50 percent of the vote plus 1 ballot.
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