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Observation of the early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria (2 October 2022)

“On 2 August 2022, following a no-confidence vote and three failed attempts to form a new government, the President of Bulgaria dissolved the 47th National Assembly and called early parliamentary elections to be held on 2 October 2022. These were consequently the third early parliamentary elections since the 4 April 2021 regular parliamentary elections, an unprecedented situation in Bulgarian history,“ reads the election observation report presented by the chair of the mission Alfred Heer (Switzerland) to the Standing Committee on 25 November 2022.

“Elections in Bulgaria are “free and frequent”, and the 2 October 2022 parliamentary elections were not an exception. Technically speaking, they lived up to the standards of free and democratic elections. They were competitive and fundamental freedoms were respected. Allegations of vote-buying and pressure on voters nevertheless affected part of the process. The CEC and PECs administrations deserve to be recognised for the accomplishment of their huge task to manage 4 election processes in 18 months.”

“On the other hand, the growing mistrust in the political system has resulted in voter apathy and disillusionment, which led to a record low turnout. Bulgarians are tired of the lack of governance culture and the politicians being unable to form a viable government. For a large proportion of the population, these new elections were of much less concern than high inflation rates, energy shortages, job losses, health scares due to a new pandemic wave and poor health care, and fear of growing international instability, which could involve Bulgaria directly in a military conflict. The country needs a political compromise in order to obtain long-term stability. After the low turnout, it is clearly the responsibility of the newly elected parliamentarians to do their utmost to regain the electorate’s trust and re-engage them in democratic processes,” concluded the observers.

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