• Bulgarians Vote for Parliament Sunday

    Sofia, March 26 (BTA) – Bulgarians are going to the polls on Sunday to elect their new lawmakers. These will be the country’s tenth parliamentary elections since the start of democratic changes in 1989 and the fifth to be held before the legislature has served its full four-year term of office – in fact, the third snap parliamentary poll in a row since 2013.

    They came in the wake of a resignation of the GERB-dominated government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov after his party’s candidate lost the November 2016 presidential elections to a Socialist-backed opponent.

    The 240 seats in the next, 44th Ordinary National Assembly, are contested by 4,732 candidates (almost 20 per seat), including those standing simultaneously in two constituencies, which is the maximum number admissible.

    Of these, 4,711 candidates have been nominated by 20 parties and coalitions and the remaining 21 run as independents.

    The election system is semi-proportional with a single transferable vote. The allocation of seats at the national level is limited to parties and coalitions which have gained not less than 4 per cent of the valid votes within Bulgaria and abroad and to independent candidates who have gained valid votes which are not less than the constituency electoral quota.

    Experts put the minimum number of votes that a party or coalition will need to gain representation in the next parliament between 135,000 and 160,000.

    The polls open at 7:00 a.m. and will close at 8:00 p.m. By exception, if voters are still waiting outside the polling site at 8:00 p.m., voting may continue until 9:00 p.m.

    Nearly 14,000 policemen will enforce law and order on March 26.

    Exit poll results may not be made public and commented on by politicians, pollsters and journalists before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.

    The Central Election Commission must declare the voting results, the votes received and the allocation of seats by March 30, and must name the elected MPs by April 3, 2017.