With exit polls from three agencies showing centre-right GERB having won a persuasive majority of the vote in Bulgaria’s May 25 2014 European Parliament elections, battle commenced among the rival camps about how to interpret the results.
Two polling agencies indicated that of Bulgaria’s 17 MEP seats, GERB would win six, the Bulgarian Socialist Party five, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms three, Nikolai Barekov’s Bulgaria Without Censorship two and the Reformist Bloc one.
GERB was in government from 2009 to 2013 but in last year’s elections, although it won the most votes, faced only foes in Parliament and had to concede to the second-ranked BSP getting the mandate to govern.
After exit polls came out on May 25, Roumyana Buchvarova, a member of GERB’s executive committee, said that the good result was as expected.
She said that the results showed that the right-wing orientation of people in Bulgaria had strengthened.
The outcome of the vote also had been influenced by the protests, lasting close to a year, demanding the resignation of the BSP government.
BSP MP Tatyana Burudzhieva countered that right-wing parties had not won the election and there was no indication that Bulgaria had got more right-wing.
In all, the vote for leftist parties was much larger than for those of the right, she said.
Iliyana Yotova, a BSP candidate for a second term as an MEP, said that the BSP had a “gentleman’s agreement” within its ranks not to comment on the preliminary data.
Yotova said that in the previous elections, the discrepancy between the projections and the final data was a serious one.
She said that in these elections, the worst-case scenario about irregularities and vote-buying had come true.
BSP MP Anton Koutev said that voters had replaced Volen Siderov’s Ataka with Barekov, a reference to the far-right ultra-nationalist party failing – going by exit polls – to have won sufficient votes to return to the European Parliament, while Barekov’s populist force appeared set for two EP seats.
Koutev said that as the formal vote count was completed, the difference between the BSP and GERB would be shortened.
Hours before polls closed, GERB leader Boiko Borissov and BWC leader Barekov both alleged that there had been vote-buying going on during election day. Borissov said that his party was declining to hold an election night news conference until there was clarity about what had happened.