By the afternoon of March 26, voting in Turkey in Bulgaria’s parliamentary elections was much lower than in the 2016 presidential elections and it was expected that voting would be extended by an hour because of long queues and interruptions in the process at some polling stations.
About 50 000 Bulgarian passport-holders in Turkey are entitled to vote in the Bulgarian National Assembly elections.
In the Turkish city of Bursa, where there are eight polling stations, about 2000 people had voted by 1pm. In Istanbul, about 4000 people had voted by that time.
A Bulgarian National Television special correspondent in Bursa said that there were major disputes throughout the day about how many people could be admitted to precinct election commissions to submit a declaration of voting.
Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission has insisted on a rule that Bulgarians voting abroad must submit a formal written declaration that they will vote nowhere else.
Most commissions were admitting no more than three to four people at a time, the report said.
In one section in Nilufer, a district in Bursa province, voting was suspended at one point because voters came in with such declarations completed in advance. The commissions sent them out and they returned, with pre-completed declarations hidden in their pockets.
It is claimed that some said that they had lived outside Bulgaria for so long they had difficulty writing in Bulgarian.
At another section, there was a problem because of the distribution of campaign materials. At a section in Bursa, voting was suspended for some time because a ballot box was found to be unsealed.
By 1pm, the most votes cast in Bulgaria’s elections in a foreign country was in Turkey, a reported total of 13 816 people. By the same time, about 3000 people had voted in the United Kingdom and about the same number in Germany.