Elections 2016: Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission decides details of polling stations abroad

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission announced on October 15 its decision on the polling stations to be opened in foreign countries for Bulgaria’s November presidential elections and national referendum.

There will be 35 polling stations each in the United Kingdom, United States and Turkey.

There will 25 in Spain, 13 in Greece and eight in Germany.

The Central Election Commission has kept to the limit of 35 polling stations in a foreign country, as set out in the version of the Electoral Code approved in 2016 – the subject of outrage among Bulgarians abroad who feel that the limit is unrealistic in countries where there are large expatriate communities of Bulgarians, and where long distances to polling stations, and a high proportion of would-be voters, would effectively curtail voting rights.

A total of 34 000 Bulgarians gave formal notification of their intention to vote abroad in the presidential elections.

However, years of experience have shown that in practice, a number significantly in excess of those who stated in advance that they would vote, actually turn out to the polls.

In regard to Turkey, CEC spokesperson Alexander Andreev said that the number of polling stations in Turkey was determined on the basis of a “reasoned proposal” by the diplomatic and consular representation in that country.

Bulgarians in the UK expect to face long queues. For example, at the previous elections, there were four polling stations at the Bulgarian embassy in London. This time around, there will be just one.

In Serbia, polling stations will be opened in Belgrade, Nis, Dimitrovgrad and Bosilegrad.

In Canada, apart from at the diplomatic missions in Ottawa and Toronto, polling stations will be opened at the offices of honorary consus in Montreal, Brampton, Calgary and Vancouver.

In German, the polling stations will be at the embassy in Berlin, consulates in Munich and Frankfurt, as well as at the offices of honorary consuls in Hamburg, Magdeburg, Münster, Darmstadt and Stuttgart.



The Sofia Globe staff

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