The second round of the local elections is being held in a total of 19 regional cities, where last week no mayor was announced in the first round. Unlike the previous vote, now voting will also be done by machines.
The election day started at 7 am and will continue until 8 pm. According to the data of the Ministry of the Interior, there are currently no serious violations. As of 11 a.m., the activity was 9.18%, the CEC announced. The highest is in Malko Tarnovo – 45.73%, and the lowest in Plovdiv – 3.86%.
However, reports of problems with the machines began to appear. This method of voting has been canceled in some sections in Blagoevgrad, Pazardzhik, Varna, Tarnovo and Dobrich. The signals are for a total of 20 sections.
By decision of the municipal election commission in Blagoegrad, the use of machines has been stopped in two sections, announced its chairman Martin Busarov. The problem there is not technical, but organizational, as two machines were swapped and driven into the wrong sections. They were then taken out, but without a police escort.
“This in itself raises doubts as to whether these machines have not been affected in some way, as the express instructions are that these machines are to be transported on schedule and under security by the authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs“, Busarov pointed out.
In Pazardzhik, two machines did not start. In Dobrich, a problem was detected with the flash memory of one of the devices. In Varna, however, one printer does not work.
PP-DB MP Ivaylo Mirchev wrote on Facebook that reports of blocked machines are arriving from all over the country. According to him, this is a result of the inappropriate rolls of paper that the Central Election Commission (CEC) uses. Earlier he wrote that the committee orders both inappropriate and very expensive rolls.
“The problems with the machines are the result of poor coordination between the institutions, the CEC is responsible. With the elections over, the question of trust in the electoral process must be raised“, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov commented after voting.
Among the most interesting clashes is the one in Sofia. The PP-DB candidate Vasil Terziev and BSP Vanya Grigorova are in the run-off.
In addition to the capital, a contested second round is also emerging in Varna, where the current mayor Ivan Portnih from GERB and Blagomir Kotsev, nominated by PP-DB, are facing each other.
In Plovdiv, the GERB candidate Kostadin Dimitrov and PP-DB candidate Ivaylo Staribratov are running for a runoff.
The mayors of Blagoevgrad, Tarnovo, Dobrich, Vidin, Gabrovo, Dobrich, Kyustendil, Lovech, Pazardjik, Pleven, Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Haskovo and Shumen will also be elected in a runoff.
The results of the local elections will also be important for governance at the national level. In the week before the runoff, GERB leader Boyko Borisov repeatedly stated that the governing “combination” with the PP-DB practically does not exist and its fate will be decided after the vote. He has mentioned several times that his party will not support the next budget unless it spells out exactly what funds will be directed to each region. Borisov also tried to play with the idea of possible support for the BSP candidate in Sofia, Vanya Grigorova. In the end, however, at the last moment, he called on the supporters of GERB to vote for Terziev, although with the clarification that it did not come from within.