Bulgaria’s voters go to the polls on October 5 2014 in ahead-of-term elections for the 43rd National Assembly, the country’s unicameral Parliament.
The elections are being held following the resignation of the previous government on July 23 2014, having been in office since May 29 2013. A caretaker cabinet was given stewardship of the country on August 6.
Eighteen parties and seven coalitions are standing in the elections.
Some of the key numbers and rules:
Eligible to vote: 6 875 199 people.
Voting age: 18 (those serving prison sentences may not vote).
Age of eligibility to be a candidate MP: 21
Up for grabs: 240 seats.
MP candidates: 6076.
Election observers: 17 429.
Polling stations: 11 724 in Bulgaria, and abroad, 428 in 59 countries abroad.
Polls open: 6am – 7pm. Presiding officers at polling stations have some leeway in extending voting hours in the event of people still being in the queue as polls close.
Electoral threshold: Four per cent.
Term of the National Assembly: Four years.
Voting machines: There will be 300 voting machines as an experiment at various polling stations.
Exit polls: It is illegal to make public exit polls while voting is underway. This applies to newspapers, news websites, television and radio stations. However, according to a statement by the Central Election Commission on October 1, this does not apply to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or to personal blogs.
After the election:
According to the constitution, the President has up to a month after the elections to convene the National Assembly. Should the President not do so, it may be convened by at least a fifth of its members.
In the case of the two most recent National Assembly elections in 2009 and 2013, the first sitting of Parliament was held nine days after election day.
After consultations with parliamentary groups, the President appoints a Prime Minister-designate nominated by the party that has won the highest number of seats in the National Assembly.
Should the Prime Minister-designate fail to form a government within seven days, the mandate is passed to the person designated by the second-largest parliamentary group. Should the second attempt at forming a government fail, the mandate goes to a minority parliamentary group of the President’s choice.
Should consultations on forming a government prove successful, the President asks the National Assembly to vote to elect the Prime Minister-designate.
If no agreement on forming a government is reached, the President appoints a caretaker government, dissolves the National Assembly and schedules new elections on a date two months hence.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)