No Surprises After Presidential Elections In Bulgaria


Sofia, 24 Oct 2011: Yesterdays presidential elections in Bulgaria failed to produce anything surprising, maybe apart from the fact that the only women out of 18 candidates only got 14 Percent of the votes.

As was to be expected, Rosen Plevneliev, candidate of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s GERB party, was the clear winner of the first round in the elections. Plevneliev was construction minister since 2009 before his candidacy for the office of presidency was announced in early September.

Originally Prime Minister Borisov wanted to run for president himself, but less than two months before the election date thought better of it.

Runner-up in yesterdays first round was the candidate of the former communist – now socialist – BSP, Ivaylo Kalfin, a former foreign minister and currently Member of the European Parliament. It is unclear however, how many people voted for Kalfin since even a day after the elections there is still no official end result published.

This is not the only strange thing connected to Sundays elections. In the town of Nessebar on the Black Sea coast apparently no voters showed up at the polling stations until shortly before closing time, when suddenly people started queuing.

It is an open secret that votes are for sale in this country, in earlier years at the rate of 100 Leva (about 50 Euro). As an anonymous source put it last week, the parties and candidates have so little to show that it is only right to be paid to go out and vote for anybody. But apparently money is running out, even for election fraud, because this year the rate is down to 50 Leva per vote.

With the experience of more than 20 years of  “democracy” in Bulgaria, only about 25 Percent of the eligible voters in the capital Sofia bothered to go to the polls.

Since no candidate won a 50 Percent majority and the voter turnout was less the half of the eligible voters, a run-off election between Rosen Plevneliev (centre-right GERB) and Ivaylo Kalfin (socialist BSP) will follow in two weeks, on 6 November. Despite todays announcement that the ethnic Turk party will endorse the BSP, it is safe to predict that the next President of Bulgaria will be Rosen Plevneliev. Not that it will change anything in the life of ordinary Bulgarians though…

(Sources: Middle East & Balkans News, TrustLaw, Focus.net; 24 Oct 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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