Bulgaria’s 2019 European Parliament elections: Turnout low by lunchtime
Voter turnout in Bulgaria’s May 26 European Parliament elections was just more than 15 per cent by 1pm, significantly lower than at the same time in the country’s 2014 vote for the European legislature, according to Central Election Commission figures.
According to reports by the commission, police and prosecutors, the voting process in Bulgaria proceeded relatively calmly in the course of the morning, after polls opened at 7am.
The most serious problem was in machine voting, for which 3000 machines had been meant to function. On the morning of May 26, machine voting was cancelled at seven polling stations in various parts of Bulgaria.
Media reports said that voting abroad in Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections was proceeding smoothly and all 191 polling stations outside the country were operating normally.
While the publication of exit polls while voting is still proceeding is against the law, various media found loopholes – via YouTube and Facebook, for example – to evade the ban, while some websites defied it outright.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party lodged complaints with the Central Election Commission against the 24 Chassa and Pik websites for posting what were said to be exit polls.
The commission fined Pik, ordered it to remove the exit polls already posted and to desist from posting any further exit polls. A decision on the complaint against 24 Chassa was pending. The fine for violating the ban is between 2000 and 5000 leva (about 1000 to 2500 euro).
The Prosecutor’s Office said that by 11am, a total of 15 pre-trial proceedings had been initiated for crimes against political rights. One was terminated because of lack of evidence.
The regional electoral commission in Smolyan was reported to have received a complaint that chocolates with the logo of a political party were being distributed on election day. The complaint was submitted by a registered observer from an NGO. Officials said that they had found no evidence.
Voting in Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections ends at 8pm, immediately after which exit poll results may be announced.
Bulgaria is one of 21 European Union countries holding EP elections on May 26. After polls close, exit polls and results from all 28 member states will begin to be announced.
Bulgaria’s May 26 2019 European Parliament elections: Factfile