Some 19 candidates vie for one seat

An average number of 19 candidates will vie for each of the 17 Bulgarian seats in the new European Parliament. A total of 318 candidates are registered to participate in the EP elections to be held on 26 May, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. The deadline for parties and coalitions to register their lists of MEP nominees and for political action committees to file their lists of signatures in support of independent candidates’ nominations was 23 April.

The upcoming elections at the end of May will feature 13 political parties, 8 coalitions and 6 nonpartisan candidates. A total of 15 parties were registered by the CEC, but two of those never did submit a list of proposed lawmakers and forfeited the right to participate in the elections at the last possible moment – these are the “Bulgaria for Citizens” Movement and Bulgarian New Democracy. As has become tradition, the majority of the political organisations submitted lists containing the maximum allowed number of 17 candidates.

For the first time ever, there is a foreigner on a list of MEP nominees – Dutch native Dani Van Santen, who has been living and working in Sofia for the past three years and is nominated by the political movement Volt, which is led by Nestimir Ananiev. 

Standalone electronic voting machines will be available in 3,000 polling stations. The CEC is yet to decide on the exact stations to be equipped with these devices, which will have five smart cards each – three of them for voting by citizens and the other two for voting by the members of the respective polling station staff. The smart cards intended for citizens will be rotated in order to ensure security of voting, as each of them generates a unique code. The smart cards are used to activate the machine in the designated private area. The CEC had a public procurement tender procedure for the voting machines contract, which was won by Ciela Norma AD – the same company provided the devices for the 2016 presidential elections, when electronic voting was an option in 500 polling stations.

Over 7 million ballots will be printed and distributed to polling places. The figure reflects the number of names registered in the preliminary lists of voters, which is close to 6.5 million people, plus another 10% as a reserve. The number of ballots printed for distribution to polling stations abroad will become clear after 7 May, which is the deadline for setting up polling stations in other countries. The ballots will be printed by the Bulgarian National Bank.


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