Bulgarian elections 2014: Election commission rejects court decision on closing polling stations in Turkey
Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided not to comply with a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court not to open eight polling stations in Turkey that the court found would be illegal.
In Bulgaria’s October 5 2014 early national parliamentary elections, there will be an unprecedented high number of polling stations outside the country – 429 – of which close to a third, 136, will be in Turkey.
Earlier, the Supreme Administrative Court, having heard an application by Bulgaria’s far-right ultra-nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, ordered that eight of the polling stations in Turkey should not be opened.
According to a September 20 report by Bulgarian site Offnews, the Central Election Commission said that there had been sufficient valid applications for the opening of polling stations and the court’s decision was based on “old information”.
CEC spokesperson Tsvetozar Tomov said that the commission could not refuse to open polling stations in the eight places in question because in each, more than 100 people had voted there in the past five years.
According to Bulgaria’s current election law, approved by the now-departed 42nd National Assembly during the time of the Bulgarian Socialist Party-Movement for Rights and Freedoms ruling axis, a polling station is opened automatically if in the past five years, more than 100 people had voted there.
In 126 out of 136 polling stations in Turkey, this had been the case, CEC spokesperson Kamelia Neikova said.
The Patriotic Front said that it would appeal against the CEC decision, describing it as “absolute arrogance”, in the words of Angel Dzhambazki, of the VMRO component of the Patriotic Front.
Dzhambazki alleged that in Turkey, many people voted twice, their votes being recorded in Turkey while people also came by bus to Bulgaria to vote inside the country.