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Fundamental freedoms generally respected in competitive Bulgarian elections, but process marked by voter fatigue

Parliamentary elections in Bulgaria: press conference

Bulgaria’s 2 October early parliamentary elections were competitive and fundamental freedoms were generally respected, although allegations of vote-buying and pressure on voters negatively affected parts of the process, international observers said in a statement today. Despite a late start to the preparations and the limited technical and administrative capacity of the election administration, the elections were organized adequately, the statement says.

Contestants were able to campaign freely in elections that took place amid voter fatigue from the holding of three early parliamentary elections in less than two years. The campaign was competitive, with a range of contestants representing different views. It was often negative in tone, however, and marked by mutual accusations among the parties of corruption or wrongdoing.

“It appears that political compromise is needed to ensure long-term stability in Bulgaria,” said Thorhildur Sunna Aevarsdottir, Alternate Head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “After the low turnout we saw yesterday, it is clearly now the responsibility of the newly elected parliamentarians to do their utmost to regain the electorate’s trust.”