Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission began on March 19 2013 the process of accepting documents for the registration of parties and coalitions standing in the May 12 national parliamentary elections.
As has become customary in recent elections, the first party to submit an application was Boiko Borissov’s GERB, with the documents being handed in on behalf of the party by party deputy leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov and senior GERB MP Iskra Fidossova. GERB was in power from July 2009 but just less than a month ago, Borissov announced his resignation in the face of nationwide protests, precipitating ahead-of-term elections.
Parties have until March 27 to submit applications. For coalitions, the deadline is April 1 2013.
Application documents require 7000 signatures and parties and coalitions each have to pay a deposit of 10 000 leva (about 5000 euro).
Speaking to journalists after the GERB documents were submitted, Tsvetanov rejected allegations that key people dealing with the electoral process were close to Borissov’s party and would manipulate the elections in its favour.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party and Movement for Rights and Freedoms called for the firing of Mihail Konstantinov, head of Informatsionno Obslujvane, the state-owned IT firm that, among other activities, provides the software for tallying the votes in all Bulgarian elections, after he was quoted as saying that he would do everything possible to prevent the return to power of the tripartite coalition. The BSP, MRF and Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party made up the tripartite coalition government from 2005 to 2009.
Tsvetanov said that GERB’s own internal polling regarding the possible outcome of the May 12 elections did not match polls recently reported publicly. In the past week, two polls have shown GERB and the socialists effectively neck-and-neck, raising speculation about a hung parliament and further elections in late August. Tsvetanov implied that the polls that had been reported publicly were not objective “because they have the relevant entities that pay them”.
The first day of registration saw a protest outside the CEC headquarters by about 10 supporters of the nationalist VMRO party, demanding that all members of the existing central and regional election commissions be fired and new appointments made so that all parties standing in the elections are represented equally.
Meanwhile, in a March 19 statement, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that Bulgarian citizens who want to vote abroad in the upcoming May 12 2013 elections for the 42nd National Assembly can submit applications from March 19 to April 11 2013.
Citizens can declare their wish to vote abroad by completing and submitting an application form no later than April 11 2013. The application form for voting abroad is available at the Foreign Ministry website. Polling stations may be set up in diplomatic and consular missions of Bulgaria abroad where the legislation of the host country explicitly allows it.
In urban areas where there is diplomatic or consular representation, polling stations may be set up if at least 20 voters submit an application by April 11 2013. In places where there is no diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria, a polling station may be set up if the host country agrees and no less than 100 voters submit an application by April 11 2013. If the number of people wanting to vote exceeds 1000, a new additional polling station may be opened in the respective location.
In term of the CEC decision, every voter who wants to vote submits a separate statement with a handwritten signature. This may be submitted personally by the voter to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria in the respective country or submitted by post. This form may not be used to submit an electronic application via the CEC website or by e-mail to the Commission. The CEC is yet to announce conditions for acceptance of electronic applications to vote outside the country.
Election days begins at 7am local time and ends at 8pm local time.
On election day, a voter must present an identification document (passport, identity card or military identity card, the last-mentioned only for military personnel) and if the voter has not submitted an application to vote outside the country and was not entered in the voters’ roll, must then submit a declaration form (Appendix 22 of the Electoral Act), the Foreign Ministry said.
(Photo: Steven Fruitsmaak/Wikinews)