Bulgaria’s June 2024 elections: Voting proceeding normally – officials

Voting in Bulgaria’s June 9 2024 “two-in-one” early National Assembly and regular European Parliament elections began at 7am, with officials saying that the process was proceeding normally.

Bulgaria is holding National Assembly elections for the sixth time in just more than three years, and these are the fifth early parliamentary elections after the regular parliamentary elections that were held on April 4 2021.

In the National Assembly elections, there are more than 6.6 million registered voters, choosing 240 MPs. Twenty parties, 11 coalitions and one independent candidate are standing.

In the European Union, the first elections for members of the 2024-2029 European Parliament were held on June 6 in the Netherlands.

On June 9, along with Bulgaria, a number of other countries are voting in European Parliament elections: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

There are more than 6.1 million Bulgarians registered to vote in this year’s regular European Parliament elections, choosing the country’s 17 MEPs in the 720-seat body.

In Bulgaria, the electorate has a choice of voting using either a voting machine or paper ballots. To distinguish between the National Assembly and European Parliament vote, the ballot papers use different colours.

In Bulgaria’s European Parliament elections, 20 parties, 10 coalitions and one independent candidate are standing.

There 12 972 polling stations in Bulgaria. At 11 635, as the law provides, there is video surveillance and video recording of the process of ballot-counting and the drawing up of the tally sheets by sectional electoral commissions.

Voting is to continue until 8pm, but if there are people still queuing at that hour to vote, officials may allow a polling station to remain open until 9pm.

It is unlawful to release exit poll results before 8pm on June 9.

Central Electoral Commission head Kamelia Neikova told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television mid-morning on June 9 that all polling stations had opened and the election day was proceeding normally.

The day before the elections, “the Day of Contemplation” on which no canvassing is allowed, had passed without serious violations.

The chief secretary of the Interior Ministry, Dimitar Kangalzhiev said that the election day was taking place in a normal and peaceful environment.

Bulgarian election law leaves in the hands of the country’s individual 265 municipalities to decide whether to impose restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

In Sofia, mayor Vassil Terziev had ordered that the sale, serving and consumption of alcoholic beverages today is permitted in designated places and with a view to holding family and ritual celebrations. The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned at polling stations and places “adjacent” to them.

In Plovdiv, the sale, serving and consumption of alcohol is banned from 6am to 8pm on June 9 in public catering establishments and other public places, with the exception of establishments where pre-planned family celebrations – such as weddings – are being held.

In Pernik municipality, a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in shops, catering establishments and other public places is in effect until 8pm. It does not apply to weddings, family and other celebrations, funeral rituals, religious rites and other similar events. for which there is a prior written notification to the mayor.

To read The Sofia Globe’s June 2024 Election Factfile, please click here.

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The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=32709292