Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The number of the polling stations abroad should be defined in a Law, says the MFA spokesperson

Adelina Marini, June 30, 2009

The full list of polling stations for the parliamentary elections in Bulgaria on the 5th of July was published on the Internet site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 18th of June and that is why the spokesperson of the Ministry has no reason to claim that the Bulgarians abroad had quite enough time to organise themselves and request more stations to be opened. This is what Antoni de La rea said for euinside. He is the creator of "Voting without borders" and coordinates the efforts of Bulgarians abroad to vote on the 5th of July. He said this in response to the statement of the spokesperson of the MFA Dragovest Goranov that: "The whole world knows that on the 5th of July there are parliamentary elections in Bulgaria. A fortnight ago the Bulgarians did not activate themselves to file applications for the opening of more polling stations and now, just before the elections, they did that under, may be, some kind of suggestion", Mr. Goranov said in response to the complaints of Bulgarians abroad that Bulgaria did not react in due time to respond to the needs of the voters there as in the same time the organisation of polling stations in Turkey is just perfect.

Thus from the initially 259 polling stations opened abroad 123 are in Turkey alone. This caused discontent among the many Bulgarians, spread around the world who are willing to vote, like those in Chicago who pretend to be one of the largest community of Bulgarians oversees. According to them if for 100,000 Bulgarians in Turkey the government can open 20 polling stations then, for at least 50,000 Bulgarians in Chicago it has to open at least 10 stations.

According to Dragovest Goranov, it is necessary the MPs to regulate this in a law - how many polling stations should be opened and where. Beside this there is the financial problem, said Mr. Goranov - the MFA has only 2 mn levs (almost 1 mn euro) to spend for the organisation of the voting abroad and for the international press centre in Sofia.

From "Voting without borders" also announced today their latest data about the most recently opened polling stations: in Vienna, Austria (2 stations), Toulouse, Marseilles, Minneapolis, Lille, Montreal, Ontario, Toronto (2), Oakland, New Zealand, Chicago (2), San Diego. Bulgarians are still trying to secure the opening of a station in Dallas, Texas, the Silicon valley and a third station in Chicago. It is expected "Voting without borders" to give a briefing tomorrow to say more details about their efforts. This organisation has been formed spontaneously and it says that the claims of the authorities that there were no money were groundless because Bulgarians abroad created absolutely for free the online portal "wе want to vote" where every one can get information where to vote, to file an application for the opening of a polling station etc.

People from "Voting without borders" also believe that the introduction of e-voting would entirely remove all these problems, conflicts and troubles. Beside this it would be much cheaper as organizational efforts. More about the e-voting and the e-government in Bulgaria you can read here.

Antoni de La Rea added that he expects some 100,000 Bulgarians abroad to vote. This number does not include the people that will vote in Turkey.