September 25 marks the beginning of the month-long official campaign period ahead of Bulgaria’s October 25 2015 municipal and mayoral elections and national referendum.
The question in the referendum asks voters whether they support the option of electronic voting in future elections and national referendums.
A total of 71 parties and three coalitions have been registered by the Central Election Commission to take part in the October 25 municipal elections, a slight increase on the number that took part in the previous municipal elections in 2011.
Election campaigning ends at midnight on October 23. The following day is the “Day of Contemplation” on which no campaigning is allowed.
Thirty parties, a coalition and eight “initiative committees” will take part in the national referendum. Of this total, 24 parties, the coalition and three initiative committees are campaigning in favour of a yes vote. Six parties and five committees are against.
By mid-September, there had been requests to open more than 1100 polling stations abroad, the largest number, 233 in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom (132) Germany (151), Canada (76), the Netherlands (59), Greece (47) and Austria (44).
According to the Directorate-General of Civil Registration and Administrative Services, 6 372 548 people are eligible to vote in the municipal elections and 6 897 781 in the referendum. Citizens of other European Union countries resident in Bulgaria are eligible to vote in Bulgarian municipal elections and to stand as candidate councillors (but not as candidate mayors), but the deadline for applying to register has passed.
Eligibility to vote in the national referendum requires Bulgarian citizenship and permanent residence in the country as at the date of the scheduling of the referendum, August 10 2015. The voters’ roll is based on an updated version of the one used in the 2014 national parliamentary elections.
Only the symbols X and V are valid in voting on a ballot paper.
The opening hours of polling stations on October 25 will be from 6am to 7pm. Voting at polling stations outside the country, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees, takes account of local time differences.
The Central Election Commission has notified opinion polling agencies and the media that during the official campaign period, the results of polls published must contain information about the sponsor of the poll, the organisation that carried it out, and the sources of funding. The notice containing this information must occupy no less than five per cent of the total area of the material.
These provisions also apply in cases where campaign materials of parties, coalitions, initiative committees and candidates contain or refer to the results of opinion polls or surveys.
Results of polls on the occasion of the elections cannot be disseminated in any form 24 hours before election day or before the declaration of the end of the voting day across the country.