Elections for New Varna Metropolitan Bishop Rigged - Report
The first round of elections for new metropolitan bishop of third largest Bulgarian city Varna has been unfairly conducted, according to a number of reports.
The first round vote, which took place Sunday, elected Bachkovo Monastery abbot Boris and little-known bishop Ignatius as contestants for the second round.
According to a publication by the Bulgarian religious website Dveri, the swiftness with which 17 of the 30 voters cast their ballots for this configuration shows that the vote might have been pre-arranged.
Internal rules of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church have it that at the first round metropolitan voters vote not for a personality but for a duo of individuals to compete at the second round.
Dveri.bg writes the suspicions are further bolstered by the facts that bishop Ignatius is seen as practically unelectable, and that on his part abbot Boris had repeatedly boasted he had raised a large amount of money "to finance" his election as Varna metropolitan.
Monday Ignatius announced that he will withdraw from the "flawed" contest, inspite of receiving pressure from superiors not to do so.
Believers in Varna are gathering in protest at 4-6 pm Monday in front of the Dormition of Mary metropolitan cathedral in the city center.
Individuals have three days from Sunday to file complaints regarding the vote with the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
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