Thursday, 3 November 2011

Elections in Bulgaria – Two in one

On the 23th of October 2011 in Bulgaria was held the first round of presidential and local elections. A combination of two types of elections was realized for the first time after the democratic changes in the country.

This caused quite mixed impressions among citizens and has hindered seriously the activities of local administrations.

In both of the rounds 1 927 candidates for mayors competed for the seats in all 264 municipalities. 7 894 persons competed for mayors of 2 066 mayoralties (settlements with population over 350 inhabitants). More than 42 000 candidates competed for 7 000 positions of municipal councillors in Bulgarian municipalities.

The elections have been marked with relatively high electoral activity: more than 50% voted for local authorities on the two rounds. After the first round 9 mayors out of total of 27 of municipalities - regional centres, were elected, namely Burgas, Dobrich, Montana, Kardjali, Pazardjik, Shumen, Gabrovo, Kjustendil and Sofia. On the first round the municipal councillors in all 264 municipalities have been elected also.

On the second round mayors of the remaining municipalities regional centres were elected.

18 couples of candidates registered for the presidential vote. After the first round the lead couples were of the ruling party GERB (EPP) – with candidate for President Mr. Rossen Plevneliev, former minister of regional development and public works and Mrs. Margarita Popova, candidate for vice-president and former minister of justice. They received 40.05 % from all votes cast. For the runoff they competed with the couple of the Bulgarian socialist party (PES) Mr. Ivailo Kalfin, standing for President and Mr. Stefan Danailov, as standing for vice – president. Mr. Kalfin is at present member of European Parliament; Mr. Stefan Danailov was minister of culture in the former government.

On the 30th of October 2011 (the runoff), 52.56 % of the valid votes went to the couple Plevneliev – Popova who will inaugurate in January next year. The electoral activity for the presidential elections in second round was 48.04% of the eligible citizens.

Four mayors, members of Bulgarian CoR delegation, were re-elected on the first round – Zlatko Jivkov, mayor of Montana municipality from EPP Group, Hasan Azis, mayor of Kardjali municipality from ALDE Group, Detelina Nikolova mayor of Dobrich municipality from EPP Group and Krassimir Kostov mayor of Shumen municipality from PES Group.

On the second round 10 other members of the delegation have been re-elected – Georgi Slavov, mayor of Yambol municipality from EPP Group, Vladimir Moskov, mayor of Gotse Delchev municipality, Krassimir Mirev, mayor of Targovishte municipality, Emil Naidenov, mayor of Gorna Malina municipality, and Ivan Asparuhov, mayor of Mezdra municipality, all from PES Group, Vesselin Lichev, mayor of Sopot municipality and Ahmed Ahmedov, mayor of Tsar Kaloyan municipality, both from ALDE Group, Stanislav Blagov, mayor of Svishtov municipality, Vladimir Kissiov and Malina Edreva councillors in Sofia municipality from EPP Group.

This will change the composition of the delegation.

During the first round in Brussels for president voted around 1,200 Bulgarian citizens, the activity for the runoff being much lower than expected.