(DF) Voting Sections Abroad for July 11 Snap Parliamentary Elections Up by 70 Per Cent from April Poll

June 21 (BTA) – The 784 voting sections that will be established in 68 countries for the Bulgarian early parliamentary elections on July 11 are 70 per cent more numerous than the 464 sections set up for the previous elections on April 4, 2021, Kalin Anastassov, deputy head of the Elections Working Group at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, told a news briefing on Monday. Anastassov said that there were 426 sections abroad for the elections in 2014 and 371 in 2017. On Saturday, the Central Election Commission (CEC) set the number of voting sections abroad at 791. Anastassov said that the CEC had miscounted the sections, had been notified, and will presumably correct the error. The sections have been established on the basis of 65,344 applications submitted by Bulgarian citizens who have been entered in the electoral rolls for voting abroad. People who are not on the rolls will be able to vote, too, after completing a declaration required by the Election Code. The largest number of voting sections in a foreign country will be in Britain, 135 (quadruple their number in April), Germany, 117 (70 per cent more), and Turkey, 112 (treble their number in April). The increase in the number of polling stations is 26 per cent in Spain and 66 per cent in the US. One reason for the steep rise in these numbers is the lifting of a 35-section limit for non-EU countries by recent amendments to the Election Code. Seven countries in the region of Asia, Australia and Oceania will have 16 voting sections, 13 countries in the Middle East and Africa will have 16 sections, seven countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia will have 17 sections, 12 countries in Southeastern Europe will have 172 sections. The sections in Europe will total 483 in 22 countries. North and South America and the Caribbean will have 16 sections in 13 countries. Malaysia has refused permission to the establishment of a voting section. In 110 locations worldwide, voting will take place at sections established in Bulgarian diplomatic missions and consular posts. The remaining 674 sections abroad will be outside the embassies and consulates. Eight sections will be in five countries where Bulgaria does not have diplomatic or consular presence: the Dominican Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, and New Zealand. Elections Working Group head Ivan Kondov said that with 19 days to go until polling day, a decision has yet to be made about machine voting abroad. He noted that the absence of such a decision puts his working group under mounting pressure and asked that the issue be addressed urgently so that the Foreign Ministry staff could go ahead with delivering the machines. Anastassov said that the preparations and logistics for this process will be available on Tuesday. He added that, also on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry will receive 710,000 ballot papers. RI/ZH/LG//