Ten days after the start of the official campaign period ahead of Bulgaria’s March 26 2017 parliamentary elections, political parties and coalitions had spent 1.162 million leva on media advertising, a study has found.
The Institute for Public Environment Development announced the figure, interim results based on monitoring as at March 5.
Bulgaria’s Electoral Code requires data on contracts between participants in elections and media to be posted publicly within three days after a contract is signed and not to be removed earlier than the announcement of the election results.
The monitoring covers the 11 political parties and nine coalitions registered to participate in the elections, and the sites of 44 media – including 10 electronic and print, 10 television stations, three radio stations, 17 newspapers and 14 online news sites and agencies.
As of March 5, a total of 27 of the sites being monitored had posted information on advertising contracts with parties and coalitions. The remaining 17 either had not made the contracts public or did not have contracts.
The biggest spender so far is Boiko Borissov’s GERB party (509 183.50 leva), followed by BSP for Bulgaria (216 150.64 leva) and the United Patriots coalition – the NFSB, VMRO and Ataka (106 781.06 leva). All these sums exclude value-added tax.
The biggest earners among media so far, according to the contracts posted, are bTV (178 418.10 leva), public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (145 646.67 leva) and daily 24 Chassa (109 166.66 leva). All these also exclude VAT.
The study found that four formation – the Movement for Radical Change – Bulgarian Spring political party, the Revival party, the WHO – Bulgarian Left and Green Party coalition and the Bulgarian National Unification Party – have contracts for free coverage with TV Evrokom.
Only five participants had reported to the National Audit Office about cash donations at the time of the study – the ABC-Movement 21 coalition, the BSP for Bulgaria coalition, the Yes Bulgaria coalition, Movement for Radical Change – Bulgarian Spring and the Reformist Bloc – Glas Naroden coalition.
The law requires that a donation should be declared within seven days of receipt. At this point the largest sum in donations was to ABC – Movement 21, a total of 72 550 leva. In addition to this, a total of 41 800 leva had been donated to candidates.
Bulgaria’s Electoral Code allows parties to fund their campaigns with their own funds and with donations from individuals.
Coalitions may fund their campaigns with funds from the parties in the coalition and donations to parties in the coalition.
(Screenshot: The notice required by Bulgarian electoral law to be attached to all election campaign advertising, that ‘buying and selling of votes is a crime’)