Commenting on the chaos surrounding the October 23 presidential and local elections, Antoaneta Tsoneva, President of the Institute for Public Environment Development (IPED), has said that Bulgaria’s inexperienced election administration is to blame for the situation.
Speaking in an interview for the state-owned Bulgarian National Television (BNT), she noted that, instead of allowing cameras in the Sofia Municipal Electoral Commission (OIC), MPs from ruling party GERB had been granted entry. Tsoneva called the presence of a regional coordinator at the vote counting “a total nonsense.”
“Sectional electoral commissions are trained by municipal electoral commissions, which in turn are instructed by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC). We warned CEC repeatedly that it was running behind schedule with the start of the training of municipal electoral commissions,” the head of the Bulgarian non-governmental organization said.
She emphasized that the first to be held accountable for the situation was CEC, which had to admit that it had failed to facilitate the work of the electoral administration in Bulgaria and had considerably delayed the launch of the voter-information campaign.
IPED’s President drew attention to another problem of even greater significance – the fact that some people had not been able to vote on October 23 because they were not on the electoral roll.
“CEC has justification for any situation, not just the current one. CEC has been shifting the blame onto General Directorate Civil Registration and Administrative Services (GRAO) or other bodies. The responsibility for the organization of the elections lies with the state. CEC, GRAO and the Council of Ministers are all responsible and cannot make citizens believe in anything else,” Tsoneva declared.
The head of the NGO warned that certain CEC members had refused to appear at the runoff if it brought the same chaos and madness as on October 23.