Bulgaria's Ruling GERB Dominates Media in Elections Eve
Bulgaria's ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party is completely dominating the country's media reports on the campaign for the October 23 presidential and local elections.
Meanwhile, some parties and candidates have been subject to a nearly full informational blackout, according to a study of the Institute for Social Integration, whose results were released Tuesday.
The study has been conducted between September 7 and October 15 and involved the main TV channels, 5 Sofia and 2 regional newspapers.
The results show that Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, has entered 41 prime time news broadcast followed by the modest 3 times for his predecessor and leader of the opposition, left-wing Bulgarian Socialist party, BSP, Sergey Stanishev.
A top contender for the country's presidential office - the first and now-former Bulgarian EU Commissioner and independent presidential candidate, formerly from the party of ex King and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, National Movement for Stability and Prosperity, NMSP, Meglena Kuneva, has been featured only once in prime time TV news.
From political parties – there have been 1 165 news reports on GERB; 692 on BSP; 247 on the right-wing Blue Coalition, and 224 on the far-right, nationalist Ataka party.
From the politicians running for the presidential office, the lead again belongs to GERB with their nomination - former Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Rosen Plevneliev and his running mate – Justice Minister on leave, Margarita Popova, who were featured 454 times; the candidates of the Socialists - Ivaylo Kalfin - a former Foreign Affairs Minister in the Socialist-led Three-Way Coalition cabinet and a current Member of the European Parliament and his mate - former Culture Minister from the BSP quota and movie star, Stefan Danailov – 311 times; Ataka party leader, Volen Siderov, and his vice presidential nomination, Pavel Shopov – 119 times, and the Kuneva-Lyubomir Hristov couple 102 times.
In newspapers, Borisov has been mentioned 872 times; Stanishev – 204 times; Siderov – 111 times; the co-Chairs of the Blue Coalition, Martin Dimitrov and Ivan Kostov 81 and 119 times respectively, and the leader of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Ahmed Dogan – 88 times.
Experts from the Institute alarm that the new Election Code opens doors for manipulations and violations and unfair election process while mishaps - poor organization, technical blunders, and lack of communication have influenced the vote of Bulgarians abroad such as reducing the number of voting polls in France and Germany.
According to them, the confusion was also triggered by requirements of the Election Code, postulating that 20 applications are needed in order to open a voting poll in a country where Bulgaria has a Consular Office or diplomatic representation, while where there is no such representation, the number of required applications is 100.
The end result is that nearly 5 000 Bulgarian expats will be deprived from their right to vote, the experts say all while reminding about another scandal – the outrage with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which erroneously published on its site nearly 37 000 permanent addresses in the country of Bulgarians residing abroad.
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