Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The Bulgarians abroad can vote without having filed an application, says the MFA

Adelina Marini, June 24, 2009

The Bulgarian government continues to claim that there are no restrictions to the Bulgarians abroad to be able to vote in the Parliamentary elections. This is what the latest statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says. But many Organisations of Bulgarians abroad claim that the requirement 100 people to ask for the opening of a polling station is too high. For the previous general elections in 2005 that requirement was 20 people. Another trouble is that in many countries the local authorities do not allow opening of a polling station outside the embassy of another diplomatic representation.

From 259 polling stations, already opened abroad, 123 are in Turkey where many ethnic Turks that fled Bulgaria in the 1980s are keen to vote. 57,346 people have filed applications to vote abroad in 58 countries. The biggest number is in Turkey - 123 polling stations. In Spain 16 stations will be opened, in the US - 15, Germany - 10, Cyprus and France - 6, Belgium - 4.

In the meantime a group of Bulgarians in the social network Facebook have created an internet site that makes it easier for Bulgarians to apply for voting. But the problem with where a polling station can be opened remains. Many observers and ordinary citizens believe that all this trouble is because the current ruling tripartite coalition is trying everything possible to prevent Bulgarians abroad to vote because this would mean they would lose. The government denies any such intentions explaining that it would be too expensive to open a polling station if there are not many people willing to vote.