Bulgaria’s elections: Caretaker Interior Minister alleges Borissov’s party bought votes

Police in Plovdiv had found that votes in the April 4 parliamentary elections were bought on behalf of Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, caretaker Interior Minister Boiko Rashkov alleged in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio on July 5.

At the weekend, it was reported that police had carried out an operation against people who had been involved in vote-buying for the April elections in Stolipinovo, an area of Plovdiv inhabited mainly by Roma people.

Bulgarian media quoted Plovdiv deputy regional prosecutor Atanas Iliev as saying the Prosecutor’s Office had told the Interior Ministry not to make public any information about the case.

Rashkov said that votes had been bought for 30 leva each. He said that several thousand people were the subject of vote-buying before the April 4 elections.

According to Rashkov, the Interior Ministry had long since had information about the people involved in the vote-buying but they had been protected by a political “umbrella”.

He alleged that the Prosecutor’s Office was being “run” by Borissov. “because he has no way to know what it happening in an inspection, whether there is data about buying of votes in Plovdiv. That connection is very strange, it is annoying – who do you think is the prosecutor in this country – the chief prosecutor is the one who commands (Prosecutor-General) Ivan Geshev – and that’s the one who spoke yesterday in Ribaritsa about a case about which he should not have information – that’s Borissov”.

Rashkov said that police were working hard on preventing vote-buying in connection with the July 11 parliamentary elections.

He said that in Bourgas, there were nine pre-trial proceedings for pre-election crimes, of which three were fast-track proceedings.

Rashkov said that in recent days, in a house in a Svilengrad village, company cash books with turnovers as well as a list of 28 000 voters in the district had been found.

“I hope that the Prosecutor’s Office has already been notified, a very serious investigation by the Haskovo prosecutor’s office should be launched, because it is not uncommon to find such huge voter lists that are relied on to assist the GERB party in the upcoming elections,” Rashkov said.

On July 4, in an interview with Darik Radio, Rashkov said that police, instead of receiving support from prosecutors in operations against vote-buying, instead encountered obstruction, especially in respect of buying votes for one party, which he declined to name.

Rashkov said that the Interior Ministry did not inform prosecutors in advance of operations against vote-buying, because it was surprise that went most of the way to guarantee such operations succeeded.

On July 5, GERB denied Rashkov’s allegations.

As quoted by Nova Televizia, a GERB spokesperson dismissed Rashkov’s allegations as “another crude manipulation by (President) Roumen Radev’s election headquarters, in the form of the caretaker cabinet.

“It is time for Boiko Rashkov to stop talking and start proving his claims,” the spokesperson said.

(Photo of Rashkov: government.bg)

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