Saturday, 13 June 2009

The results of the Bulgarian EP elections

The official results of the European elections have been finally announced. As for a Balkan country there were complaints for vote rigging, buying and selling of votes, vote recount was requested but turned down by the Central Electoral Commission that administers the elections.

If we try to be more positive, the turnout was higher - up good 10% from 28,9% in 2007 to 38,9% now which means 650 000 more people bothered to go vote. It was raining heavily back in 2007 and many people blamed that for the low turnout while this time the sun was shining. Of course the increased polarization of the Bulgarian society due to the upcoming parliamentary elections also contributed.

So, who won and who lost in the Bulgarian EP elections?

The populist GERB (EPP) retained the first place from two years ago, the socialists came second again (although by a bigger margin), while the party of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria DPS was again third. The nationalists of ATAKA were fourth. NDSV and the Blue coalition contested the fifth place with just 361 votes separating them on the finish. What does that mean in mandates?

The electoral formula used for the European elections in Bulgaria is that of the largest remainder (Hare-Niemeyer). The system does not have a bias in favor of the big parties so the distribution of mandates is seen as fair. As a largest party GERB got 5 mandates, BSP - 4, DPS - 3. The nationalists of ATAKA will have two representatives in the European parliament, NDSV also two and the Blue coalition - one. However if and when the Lisbon treaty comes into force the 18th Bulgarian mandate will go to the Blue coalition.

That's how the distribution looks like according to European party affiliation:

GERB and the Blue coalition are EPP members, BSP is the PES representative in Bulgaria, NDSV are part of the ALDE group, while ATAKA were briefly part of the nationalist "Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty" group in the EP before it dissolved. The Turkish minority party also claims to be liberal which is ridiculous when you think about it but they are also ALDE members.

The European elections in Bulgaria were unlucky to come just a month before the national ones so the debate never came really European and already on election night everybody was analyzing what the results mean in national perspective. However, there are a few positive tendencies. First of all, the turnout was substantially higher than in 2007. Secondly, the traditional center-right parties managed to achieve representation which was not the case two years ago so all the segments of Bulgarian society will have their say in Strasbourg. Thirdly, I'd like to think people know little bit more about the European Parliament does - it was the second such elections and much more European information campaigns targeted society. The higher turnout may be one of the signs that worked. Elections'2009 good bye, 2013 - here we come!

No comments:

Post a Comment