Movement for Rights and Freedoms won half of Bulgarian votes abroad

If it was up to Bulgarians who voted outside the country on May 12 2013, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms – the party led and supported in the main by Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity – would be running the country, having won just more than 49 per cent of the vote abroad.

A total of 114 557 Bulgarians voted abroad, according to the Foreign Ministry. Of these, more than half voted in Turkey, one of 57 countries where there were polling stations in Bulgaria’s national parliamentary elections.

The Central Election Commission released the results of all votes abroad counted, as at 12.30am on May 15.

In the vote outside Bulgaria, Boiko Borissov’s GERB trailed a distant second, at 20.8 per cent (in the overall vote, it got 30.5 per cent, the largest single share of votes).

Placing third in the vote abroad was the Coalition Freedom and Honour, which was made up of Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s former party and an MRF splinter party, which got 7.96 per cent of the vote.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party-led Coalition for Bulgaria, which overall placed second to GERB with all votes counted in the May 12 elections, was fourth in the vote abroad, with 4.43 per cent of the vote. In that theoretical parliament elected by Bulgarians abroad, the socialists would have seats, as the smallest party over the threshold for eligibility.

Most parties that failed to win seats in the vote in Bulgaria matched their performance abroad. An exception was Ataka, which won 7.3 per cent of the overall vote but abroad was below the threshold.

Ivan Kostov’s Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria-Bulgarian Democratic Forum coalition got 2.97 per cent of votes cast outside Bulgaria, Volen Siderov’s ultra-nationalists Ataka 2.79 per cent, Meglena Kouneva’s Bulgaria of Citizens 2.71 per cent, the “Greens” 1.57 per cent (the “Greens” greatest triumph was in Tokyo, where the party won 18 of 68 votes cast, the largest single share of votes cast in the Japanese capital), ultra-nationalist splinter party the National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria 1.42 per cent and nationalists VMRO less than one per cent.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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Bulgaria’s 2013 elections: Highest turnout in voting abroad in Turkey 





Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.