Bosnians Name Vote-Buying Technique after Bulgaria

World | September 30, 2010, Thursday // 08:12| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bosnians Name Vote-Buying Technique after Bulgaria Election posters are pictured in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on 29 September 2010. On 03 October 2010, more than 3 million Bosnian citizens are expected to vote in the country's general elections and decide on a path for the future of Bosnia. EPA/BGNES

An "innovative" vote-buying practice crafted ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina's general elections on October 3 has been described as "Bulgarian train" by the press in Sarajevo.

The vote-buying scheme called "Bulgarian train" includes a party activist who hands out filled ballot papers to votes before the polling stations.

The voter is supposed to cast the filled ballot, and to bring out an empty ballot from inside the polling station; upon handing the empty ballot to the activist of the political party, the voter receives the promised payment for selling their vote.

Then, the political activist fills the empty ballot paper, and hands it to the next willing voter, and the "Bulgarian train" keep rolling throughout the entire election day.

It is unclear exactly why this vote-buying technique described in the Bosnian press has been named "Bulgarian train" but the general association of vote-buying with Bulgaria is easy to explain as Bulgaria's 2009 EU and national elections were plagued with vote-buying allegations, though only a couple of sentences.

The Bulgarian voters willing to sell their vote are primarily from the Roma community; according to analysts, some 200 000-350 000 votes were sold or coerced during the 2009 European Parliament Elections in Bulgaria. The figure is about the same for the 2009 Parliamentary Elections.

Another technique to manipulate the vote in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the use of pen-rings by electoral commission members who can use these devices to scribble one additional line on the ballot paper to make it invalid.

The Sarajevo press reports that a huge shipment of such pen-rings arrived in Bosnia from China recently, just ahead of the country's elections.

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Tags: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, vote-buying, Bulgarian train
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