Bulgarian Polling Agencies Form 'Cartel' Before EU Vote - Expert
A cartel agreement is in force among Bulgaria's polling agencies ahead of the European elections on Sunday, a prominent political scientist has warned.
Antoniy Galabov told the Bulgarian National Radio that it "functions through various polling agencies" and has dimensions different from [those of] sociology.
He added that political parties had much at stake and posed the "inability of the state to protect its citizens" against what he called "generic political corruption" as a very serious issue in Bulgaria.
Galabov also made references to this week's scandal triggered by a report of the private NOVA TV channel which allegedly shows evidence of a controlled vote at the Bobov Dol mines.
On a secretly taken footage, he also says that miners who follow the instructions and cast their ballots for a certain party will get their wages earlier.
Bulgaria's Prosecuting Authority launched an investigation into that matter, and the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) announced Thursday it was mulling whether to announce the name of the party which allegedly participated in a "vote-buying" scheme (its ballot number had been "cut out" of NOVA TV's report).
CEC decided it would not take any side and explained it was not clear if a crime had been committed and could not agree on whether the Bobov Dol mines were a public or a private company.
The miners themselves said on Friday no one had exerted any pressure on them to vote for a certain party.
A video later released by social media websites YouTube and Bulgaria's VBOX7 purportedly shows the "unedited" version of the video aired on NOVA TV, according to which the "controlled vote" was in favor of the Bulgarian Socialist party.
As the pre-election period in Bulgaria ends in Friday, however, no-one has been able to verify the authenticity of the footage.
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