Boiko Borissov’s centre-right party GERB spent more than 2.8 million leva on its campaign ahead of Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections on October 5, according to National Audit Office figures released on November 18.
GERB, winner of the largest share of seats in the National Assembly and now the majority partner in a governing coalition with Borissov as Prime Minister, spent the most on concerts, more than 1.4 million leva.
The campaign was paid for entirely from the state subsidy paid to GERB as a party with seats in the legislature, according to the National Audit Office report.
GERB spent 636 383 leva on media services, 59 760 leva on public opinion polls and 454 819 leva on posters and fliers. The party spent 189 515 leva on renting premises, transport and advertising facilities, 30 946 leva on temporary staff and 21 471 leva on business trips.
Going by the National Audit Office figures, in second place in the spending stakes was the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which used 2 275 663 leva on its election campaign – a figure precisely the same as its state subsidy. The MRF won 38 seats.
The MRF did not declare receiving any donations.
MRF spending on advertising and marketing in the media was 845 037 leva, of which 253 994 went to print media, 541 043 to electronic media and 274 349 leva to “other providers of audiovisual media services”.
The party spent 128 000 leva on advertising on public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, 25 200 on Bulgarian National Radio and 50 000 leva on advertising in online media.
Nikolai Barekov’s populist Bulgaria Without Censorship (BWC) was the third-largest spender, at 1 841 824 leva, according to the National Audit Office report. BWC won 15 seats.
BWC said that its spending came from 826 444 of its own revenue and 1 021 418 leva from donations.
Some of these donations came from BWC parliamentary candidates, according to the report. These were Maria Kalenderska (9900 leva), Nikolai Radulov (9500 leva) and Ivan Tagavov (8000 leva).
BWC spent more than 1.3 million leva on media services, of which 1 156 834 was on electronic media and 159 369 on print media, the National Audit Office said. The party spent 20 022 on advertising on BNT, 2400 on BNR and 46 496 on online media.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party-Left Bulgaria coalition spent just less than Barekov’s BWC, going by the National Audit Office figures.
The BSP got 39 seats after spending 1 825 933 leva.
Among its donors were party functionaries and now-former cabinet ministers: Vessela Lecheva (14 000 leva), Dimitar Dubov (9950 leva), Kristian Vigenin (8568.50 leva), Stefan Danailov (7041 leva), Georgi Kadiev (5041.20 leva), Kiril Dobrev (5000 leva), Angel Naidenov (4950 leva), Denitsa Karadjova (4950 leva), Dora Yankova (4000 leva), Kostadin Kostadinov (2253.12 leva) Yelyo Boichev (2720.64 leva) and Emil Kostadinov (2000 leva).
The BSP spent 628 591 leva on media packages. Of this sum, 102 043 went to print publications, 247 055 leva to electronic media, 9936 leva to BNT, 188 686 leva to “other providers of audiovisual services”. The coalition spent 120 845 leva on public opinion surveys.
It spent 7500 leva on consultants, 21 419 leva on posters, flyers, leaflets and brochures, 4493 on concerts and rallies, 9524 leva on renting premises and buses and 2000 on external services.
Ultra-nationalists Volen Siderov’s Ataka spent more than a million leva to win 11 seats and rank with the second-lowest percentage of votes among the eight parties that made it into the new Parliament.
Ataka said that it got its campaign money from 944 996 leva of its own revenue, 375 000 leva from subscriptions and 568 999 from its state subsidy. Donations from individuals and candidate MPs added up to 20 433 leva.
Siderov’s party spent 728 454 on media services, 88 264 leva on posters and brochures and 64 635 leva on concerts. It spent 96 413 leva on renting premises, transport and marketing facilities.
Centre-right coalition the Reformist Bloc, which got 23 seats in the National Assembly and a share of seats in Borissov’s cabinet, spent 654 343 leva on election campaign.
Of this, 246 847 leva came from parties in the bloc and 170 916 leva from donations.
The Reformist Bloc spent 475 309 leva on advertising, of which 371 919 leva was for broadcast advertising and 8856 leva in online media.
The bloc spent 12 557 leva on concerts and rallies and 37 047 leva on rentals.
Of the constituent parties, the largest financial contributor was the Union of Democratic Forces (127 040 leva), followed by the People’s Party Freedom and Dignity (75 000 leva), the Bulgaria for Citizens Movement (40 877 leva) and the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (3529 leva).
ABC, which won 11 seats in the National Assembly and got a deputy prime minister’s post in the Borissov cabinet, spent 586 643 leva on its election campaign, according to National Audit Office figures.
ABC, led by Georgi Purvanov – who did not stand as a candidate MP – was the second-largest recipient of donations after Barekov’s BWC, getting 494 770 leva.
These donations, along with those from candidate MPs, made up its election campaign budget. It spent 102 043 leva on print publications and 247 055 leva on electronic media. ABC spent 21 419 leva on posters and brochures and 4493 leva on concerts and rallies.
Of the parties and coalitions that won seats in Bulgaria’s 43rd National Assembly, the most campaign spending was that of the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF), which won 19 seats and also made a deal with Borissov’s government.
The PF said that it spent 495 334 leva, the larger portion of this coming from Valeri Simeonov’s National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria, 329 790 leva. The PF declared 1000 leva in donations, from a single individual, Hristo Hristov.
The PF spent 73 586 on print media and 257 967 leva on electronic media. It paid 24 840 to BNT and 1500 leva to BNR. A total of 25 239 leva went on posters and flyers and 5147 leva on rallies.
(Main photo: the GERB campaign launch in Sofia’s Arena Armeec, September 8 2014)