The presidential elections and the third parliamentary elections this year have started in Bulgaria. Presidential elections are held on time and parliamentary elections are held early.
The polling stations were opened at 7 local time (6 in Poland). The first results based on exit polls are expected by 20 (19 in Poland).
23 presidential candidates, over 5,000 for members of parliament
Voting, just like in July, is done with the use of machines and with strict anti-covid rules. 12,990 polling stations were opened in the country, 751 abroad in 68 countries.
23 candidates participate in the presidential election, and 5,067 representatives of 22 parties and 7 coalitions compete for 240 seats in parliament. It was established that 57 of them were related to the former security services of the communist period. Bulgarian legislation does not prohibit them from holding public office, but only provides for the disclosure of their names.
Outside the country, the largest number of polling stations are in Turkey. The Turkish authorities actively support the party of the Turkish minority, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), which this year nominated a presidential candidate for the first time since the political changes in 1989. The support of the Turkish authorities, which, inter alia, they pay Turkish citizens with Bulgarian citizenship to transport them to polling stations, it caused strong dissatisfaction not only among nationalist circles, but also moderate groups who perceive this policy as an interference in Bulgarian internal affairs.
There were numerous attempts to trade votes during the election campaign. The Ministry of the Interior and the prosecutor’s office informed about over 500 preliminary investigations and 2,000 official cases of warnings from potential participants in this practice. The ministry said that the attempts were made by the center-right GERB party of former prime minister Boyko Borisov and the Turkish DPS. The elections will be monitored by the OSCE mission and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Elections in Bulgaria. What the polls show
The research forecasts the victory of the current president, Rumen Radev, but does not rule out a second round either. His main rival is Atanas Gerdzikov, backed by GERB. If it comes to the second round, it will take place in a week’s time.
According to the polls, six or seven parties will enter parliament, most notably GERB. Observers anticipate a difficult dialogue, and there may even be elections in the spring.
The previous two Bulgarian parliaments, elected in April and July, were unable to agree on the appointment of a government and were dissolved after a few weeks.
Main photo source: ENEX