Caretaker government allocates 123.8M leva for Bulgaria’s November elections

Bulgaria’s caretaker government allocated on September 20 an amount of 123.8 million leva (about 63.3 million euro) for the preparation and holding of the country’s presidential and early parliamentary elections on November 14.

The amount would also cover a possible presidential election run-off on November 21, the government said in a media statement, but gave no further details on the breakdown of the allocation for the two election days.

The statement said that the caretaker Cabinet was prepared to make additional funds available, under the Public Finance Act, if the Central Election Commission (CEC) decided to acquire additional voting machines for the November elections.

CEC bought 9600 voting machines for the April 4 parliamentary election and a further 1637 machines for the July snap parliamentary polls, owing to changes to the Electoral Code passed by the 45th National Assembly.

Last week, Bulgarian National Radio quoted CEC chairperson Kamelia Neikova saying that the commission planned to buy an additional 1600 machines for the November election.

She said it would allow more voting precincts, an estimated 2119 in total, to have a second voting machine, Bulgarian National Radio reported.

The additional machines were expected to speed up the voting process, since voters would likely require more time in front of a voting machine because they would be casting ballots both for Parliament and the presidency.

CEC has not called a formal tender for the purchase of more voting machines.

The caretaker Cabinet’s statement said that it was also prepared to allocate further funding if the CEC decided to introduce video surveillance of ballot-counting at polling stations.

Bulgarians are being called back to the polls in November after April 4 regular parliamentary elections and July 11 early parliamentary elections failed to result in a government being voted into office. The date has been picked to coincide with the regular presidential elections as a cost-saving measure.

Previous governments had allocated 65.7 million leva for the April elections and 57.1 million leva for the July polls.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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