Parliamentary elections 2014 – preparations and discussions about vote buying
All parties have begun their preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 5th. While the candidates have been introduced to the public, public and politicians debate about allegations of vote buying.
The Ministry of Interior suspects 1000 people of being related to vote buying practises and expects that possibly approximately one million of all votes could be bought.
In last year's elections of the nearly seven million registered voters, 3.5 million actually voted – vote buying could therefore have a significant impact on the election outcome, as it would distort one third of all the votes cast, if the turnout stays comparably low, as expected.
Meanwhile, due to a change in the electoral code, more voting sections abroad have been opened. While before, 100 registered voters were necessary in order to open a voting section, now only 40 voters are required. Therefore, over 430 sections in nearly 60 countries will be opened on October 5th, of which 136 will be in Turkey. The number of voting sections doubled in Turkey due to the change of the electoral code, causing protests in front of the central electoral commission.
Since in the last elections, nearly 50 percent of the votes from other countries were went to the liberal-centrist party DPS, which supports the rights of the Turkish minority, especially elderly voters are concerned about the impact of the votes from abroad.
Until today, due to historic developments and cultural differences, relations towards the Turkish minority in Bulgaria remain ambivalent. Since in the border region between the two countries many citizens in both Bulgaria and Turkey have a double citizenship, they are allowed to vote in both countries.
Kristalina Georgieva elected as Vice-President of Juncker’s EC cabinet
The resigned Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, has been elected as one of the seven Vice-Presidents in the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker. She will be in charge of Budget and Human Resources.
Rather distanced from the domestic politics and the centre-right party GERB, Georgieva was awarded in 2010 for her work as the ‘European of the Year’ and ‘EU Commissioner of the Year’, ceremonies organized by the European Voice newspaper. Georgieva has a PhD in Economics and Sociology,has work experience at the World Bank and has been praised for her outstanding work in dealing with the crises in Pakistan and Haiti.
While some Bulgarians hope for benefits for their country through her position, EU-experts expect the new Vice-President to act strictly in the interest of the European Union, which does not always correlate with Bulgarian interests.
Plovdiv to be the European capital of culture in 2019
The 2nd largest city of Plovdiv will be the first Bulgarian city to be the European capital of culture. T will share the title with a currently unknown Italian city (the decision will be made in October). As capital of culture itizens and cultural institutions are given incentives to cooperate with EU bodies and organize a programme for the year in order to present the city's rich culture and history to the visitors.
Ranking among the world's oldest cities, Plovdiv has a 4000-year-old history and has been influenced be ancient Greek culture, the Roman and the Ottoman Empire and was of great importance in the Bulgarian Empires. Traces of the past can still be admired today in Plovdiv's architecture and in the city's museums, where archaeological findings are exhibited.
Plovdiv will be granted 1.5 million euros in order to work on its cultural strategy until 2019 – the city’s mayor Ivan Totev promised that Plovdiv will be a better place to live. The region hopes for an increased interest and greater attraction of tourists to its cultural programme.