The second round of voting in mayoral elections in Bulgaria on November 3 again saw a number of websites breaking electoral law against posting running results of exit polls before voting has ended.
On the eve of the run-off elections, the Central Election Commission (CEC) posted on its website an appeal to the media, quoting Article 205, paragraph five of the Electoral Code which outlaws posting the results of exit polls in any form, including through links to social networks, before voting ends at 8pm.
The CEC had posted a similar appeal on October 26, the day before the first round of voting, but a number of websites ignored it, either posting exit poll results directly on their websites or by, for instance, linking to YouTube or Facebook.
Between the first and second rounds, the CEC posted decisions announcing fines for six websites, though the amounts of the fines have not yet been made public.
On November 3, at least four websites, all of which had broken the law the previous week and been fined, again were showing exit poll results, in some cases citing the information as having come from party headquarters. The websites, as they had the week before, insisted that the law was wrong and the public had the right to know the exit poll results.
Bulgarian law provides for fines of 2000 to 5000 leva (about 1000 to 2500 euro) for making public exit polls during voting hours, for a first offence, rising to a maximum 10 000 leva for a second or further offence.
In Bulgaria’s May 2019 European Parliament elections, a national television station showed exit poll results four minutes before voting ended. It was fined 2000 leva.
(Photo: Serkan ER/freeimages.com)