All You Have to Know about the Upcoming General Election in Bulgaria
On April 4,the most important elections for the people will be held, namely the parliamentary elections, on which it depends who will govern Bulgaria for the next four years. Although President Rumen Radev set by decree a relatively early date for holding the vote, given the coronavirus pandemic, it meets the legal requirements. For the first time since 2009, parliamentary elections are regular, not early.
What do preliminary surveys show?
Currently GERB will once again become the first political force, followed by BSP, and the difference in voter support between the two parties is small. In these elections GERB will run in coalition with the UDF. The surprise is that sociologists expect Slavi Trifonov's party - "There is such a people" to overtake the third political force in the National Assembly - MRF.
The positions of other election runners are insecure and changing, but the prognoses show that probably "Democratic Bulgaria", the formation of Maya Manolova and the "Poison Trio", the IMRO and the coalition "Volya" - NFSB, which have a small difference between each other, will also enter parliament.
However, gaining people's trust largely depends on the campaign that political parties and coalitions will conduct.
Despite the polls, the final distribution distribution of seats in parliamnt depends on the votes actually cast at the polling stations.
What's important to know?
The day before the official election campaign begins, we offer you important information that you should know before you cast your vote.
How will the election be held?
For the first time in all major polling stations, with over 300 voters, there will be a choice of voting with a paper ballot or a machine.
Bulgaria is divided into 31 multi-mandate constituencies (MIR). Election day will start at 7 a.m. and end at 8 p.m., and if after that hour there are people waiting to cast their vote in front of the polls, the working hours may be extended to 9 p.m. at the longest.
Who has the right to vote?
All Bulgarian citizens who have reached the age of 18 on Election Day are eligible to vote, except the prisoners and those serving a custodial sentence. According to preliminary data of the CEC, there are 6,732,316 people on the electoral roll.
Where will you be able to vote?
To vote, your name must be entered on the electoral list in the relevant constituency on permanent address. If you have a permanent and current address in different settlements, you can apply for registration in the voters list at your current address no later than 20 March 2021. It is also possible to submit an electronic application through the website of the respective municipality.
Once you have been entered on the electoral list at your current address, you will automatically be crossed out from the list at your permanent address and you will not be able to exercise your right to vote there.
What to do if you are not on the electoral roll?
In this case, you must submit an application for correction of omissions and errors in the electoral lists to the respective municipality. The deadline is March 27.
Will you be able to vote remotely?
The Electoral Code does not provide for the possibility of remote electronic voting, voting by mail, by computer, by fax, by smartphone or in any way remotely without visiting the polling stations.
When and where will the official candidates’ lists be published?
The register will be publicly available on the CEC website on March 7, and in the section "Archive of elections held previopusly" under the heading "Elections for Members of the National Assembly – 2021" after the elections are finished.
Which numbers will designate the parties running for election?
You should know that the circles with the candidate number are on the right side of the ballot. Party and coalition numbers range from 1 to 100, and the numbers of candidates which can be voted for by preference start from 101. Parties, coalitions and independent candidates are also listed by their name, and the candidates on the list for the respective region only have numbers. Therefore, you should either check in advance which number has your preferred candidate, or check it in the booth where there are lists.
How to proceed with preferential voting?
Optionally, you can cast your vote for a particular candidate from the list of the preferred political formation, but to this end you need to know exactly which number on the list designates the person you want to vote for.
How to check candidates in your constituency?
On the website of the respective regional electoral commission (REC), each voter can check the registered lists and the names of the candidates for MPs.
How should you vote and when is a ballot not valid?
The ballot is invalid when the vote is marked with a sign other than "X" or "V", has a mark in more than one box, or is marked outside the box. Also invalid are ballots with captions, with characters other than blue color pen, and if it is empty.
If you vote "I don't support anyone" or have an invalid ballot, your vote will not be counted. You will only be counted for turnout.
How will people in quarantine or isolation vote?
People under mandatory quarantine or isolation will vote with a mobile ballot box. These voters will not be allowed to cast their ballots in a polling station with a removable box meant for people with permanent disabilities.
Voters with a permanent or current address on the territory of a settlement for which a section has been formed have the right to vote with a mobile ballot box.
Such sections will be formed on the territory of each settlement if, by 31 March - three days before election day, no less than 10 applications have been submitted by voters put under compulsory quarantine or isolation.
If a voter meets both the requirements for voting with a mobile ballot box in a polling station for voters with permanent disabilities and in a voting section for voters placed under compulsory quarantine or isolation, they shall vote in the second type of section.
Members of the mobile sectional electoral commissions are provided with a disposable protective suit, gloves, a protective helmet with a surgical or protective mask, and have the possibility of being vaccinated with two Covid-19 vaccines if they wish.
How to declare your desire to participate in the upcoming elections for MPs as a member of a sectional or regional electoral commission?
Present your candidacy to one of the parties and coalitions that are currently represented in parliament or have elected representatives in the European Parliament.
Can you become an observer?
Election observers mainly register non-governmental organizations, including international organizations. There will be more than 200 observers in this election.
Can you vote or be a member of CEC if you are changing ID documents?
You can be a member of the ICD if you are in the process of changing personal documents and meet the additional requirements provided for by the Electoral Code.
If you are a student in one city and have a permanent address in another:
If you are a full-time student, you can vote in a polling station by choice in the locality where you are studying, if it is different from the place of permanent address after presentation of: an ID document, certified for the relevant semester student book, a declaration form that you have not voted and will not vote elsewhere, which will be provided to you at the polling station.
How will you vote abroad?
Bulgarians abroad who wish to exercise their right to vote must declare their wish to vote with an application form. It should be submitted either in person, or by letter to the diplomatic or consular representation of Bulgaria in the respective country or by electronic application through the CEC's website, but not later than 25 days before Election Day.
In case they have not submitted an application, Bulgarian citizens can do so in a polling station by submitting a declaration form to the CEC at the polling station.
If they have applied and are included in an electoral list for voting outside the country, they will be deleted from the electoral list at the permanent address in Bulgaria.
If they have applied and are entered on an electoral list for voting outside the country, they will be deleted from the electoral list at the permanent address in Bulgaria.
To set up one polling station, 60 applications are needed. In countries outside the European Union, there is a limit of up to 35 stations.
On Election Day, you will be able to vote with an ID, even if it has expired. People abroad will be able to vote for a party and a coalition, but not for a candidate on the list.
As of March 2, our country received consent from 76 countries to hold the vote, with 385 polling stations already confirmed. Finally, the CEC will determine the places and countries in which polling stations will be set up no later than 13 March.
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