Bulgaria’s April 2023 elections: Record vote for ‘I don’t support anyone’

In Bulgaria’s April 2 2023 early parliamentary elections, a total of 108 842 voters chose the “I don’t support anyone” option on the ballot, according to results posed by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

This is 4.06 per cent of the 2 679 234 Bulgarians who turned out to vote – ironically, over the four per cent threshold for a share of seats in the National Assembly.

But Bulgarian electoral law only takes account of “I don’t support anyone” in calculating turnout, and the option has no other effect on the outcome of an election. Certainly not empty seats in Parliament, representing those who feel that no one represents them.

The figure for “I don’t support anyone” is by far the largest in the five elections that Bulgaria has held in the past two years. It also exceeds the votes cast for a number of parties and coalitions in Sunday’s elections.

It exceeds the 87 635 “I don’t support anyone” votes in the October 2 2022 early parliamentary elections, in which turnout was slightly lower than on April 2. Turnout in October was 40.23 per cent, compared with last Sunday’s 40.63 per cent.

In the November 2021 early parliamentary elections (turnout, 42.19 per cent), a total of 35 745 voters chose “I don’t support anyone”.

In the second round of presidential elections in November 2021, faced with a choice between incumbent Roumen Radev and GERB candidate Anastas Gerdzhikov, a total of 34 169 voters (1.48 per cent) ticked the box to indicate that they supported neither of them. That election, won by Radev, set a record for the lowest turnout in a Bulgarian presidential election, at 34.84 per cent.

In Bulgaria’s July 2021 early parliamentary elections, which had turnout of 42.19 per cent, a total of 35 201 voters chose “I don’t support anyone”, while two years ago, in the regular parliamentary elections of April 2021, a total of 47 749 of the 50.61 per cent of voters who went to the polling stations opted for “I don’t support anyone”.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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