For many months, long before the nationwide protests that prompted the resignation of the Borissov GERB government, Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanishev has been saying that GERB would cheat its way to victory in the election – and now it has emerged that the socialists are among parties that have organised their own parallel count on election night.
An Austrian firm, reportedly to be paid 250 000 euro, will conduct its own vote-count exercise in parallel to the official work of the Central Election Commission.
The firm will do so on behalf of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Volen Siderov’s Ataka, Meglena Kouneva’s Bulgaria for Citizens and the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria coalition.
Socialist leader Stanishev said on April 30 that no party except GERB believed that the May 12 elections would be fair.
GERB, according to Stanishev, controlled everything – the Central Election Commission, Informatsionno Obslujvane (the state-owned IT firm that, among other activities, provides the software for tallying the votes in all Bulgarian elections), the caretaker government, the regional elections commissions.
Stanishev said that the opposition had a duty to guarantee the right of people to vote freely for whichever party they wanted to and for the results to be counted in an honest way.
The parties involved will split the costs of paying the Austrian firm. Parties that were represented in the 41st National Assembly will pay out of their state subsidies while Kouneva’s party is to fund its contribution from a bank loan that it took to stand in the elections.
Organisers of the project said that they had agreed to swallow their political differences because they all suspected that GERB would manipulate the election.
Representatives of the Austrian firm would arrive in the country a few days before the election. The parallel count exercise would take place at regional and national level, organisers said.
GERB leader Borissov reacting by saying that “it would be a pleasure for us to join the parallel vote counting”.
Borissov said that all was needed was for the company to send a letter to GERB with information about the bank account and the price.
In this way we will also have a representative in the parallel vote counting, Borissov said.
“I rely on the co-operation of Sergei Stanishev, who can easily settle the issue. We have not so far joined the talks with this company about the parallel vote counting, because we have not been invited,” Borissov said.