Voters in several Bulgarian cities and in towns and villages across the country returned to polling stations on November 1 2015 for the second round run-off vote in mayoral elections, a sequel to the October 25 first round.
In a repeat of an episode at the first round, when municipal elections and a national referendum on online voting were held simultaneously, the website of the Central Election Commission (CEC) was again hacked, though with a less serious impact than the week before. The site was loading slower than normal.
The CEC said on November 1 that all polling stations had opened and there were sufficient officials on duty to manage the voting process.
Second-round voting was taking place in 133 municipalities and 980 mayoralties.
Five of the 10 largest cities in Bulgaria elected mayors at the first round on October 25.
In Sofia, there was second-round voting in 16 out of 24 districts. The capital city elected its metropolitan mayor at the first round. In 12 out of 16 districts were second-round voting was being held, the contest was between GERB and the Reformist Bloc, and in the remainder, either between GERB and the Bulgarian Socialist Party or GERB and an independent.
Outside Sofia, the largest city where a mayoral election run-off was being held was Plovdiv. Bulgaria’s second city also was seeing run-offs in six district mayoral candidate races. Runoffs also were being held in 12 municipalities in the Plovdiv region.
Run-offs were being held in three municipalities in the Bourgas region.
Three districts in Varna were electing district mayors, with a total of 48 run-off elections in Varna and the region.
Larger cities and towns where second-round elections were being held also included Pleven, Sliven, Dobrich, Shoumen, Haskovo and Vidin.
On the late morning of November 1, the Interior Ministry said that election day had started calmly and no serious breaches had been reported.
Alleged breaches included a claim that there had been canvassing and attempted vote-buying in the mainly Roma neighbourhood of Iztok in Pazardzhik, and claims of inappropriate behaviour by electoral offices in the municipality of Purvomai, a claim that was denied by the officials.