17.4% Turnout at Bulgarian Nuclear Referendum 5 pm
A turnout of 17.42% has been announced by election authorities for 5 pm, 2 hours before closing time, at Bulgaria's first national referendum since 1989.
The referendum asks the question "Should nuclear energy be developed in the Republic of Bulgaria through the construction of a new nuclear power plant?"
The highest turnout, close to 23%, has been recorded in Pleven region, home to the site of the frozen Belene NPP, which provoked the referendum.
The lowest turnout, around 8.5%, is in the south-eastern region of Kadrzhali, traditionally dominated by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, a liberal party supported by many Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity, which did not formulate a position on thereferendum.
The vote will be binding if the number of votes equals that of votes at the last parliamentary elections, 4,225,124, and if more than half of them vote "yes".
If less people vote on the referendum, but the turnout is over 20%, and more than half of the votes are positive, then the question is tabled for debate to parliament.
At 10 am, the Central Electoral Commission had reported a turnout of 2.1%, at 1 pm it rose to 9.34%.
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