site.btaUPDATED Preparations for Bulgaria's April 2 General Elections Underway in Turkiye
Over 28,000 applications have been submitted in Turkiye for voting in the Bulgarian general elections on April 2, Turkiye's Supreme Election Council reported. Preparations for the vote are underway, BTA learned from representatives of various associations involved in the process.
The head of the Rumeli Society for Balkan Culture and Solidarity, Nehiza Bilen, said that they are preparing actively for the April 2 snap elections. In Eskisehir, where the Rumeli Society is located, there will be three voting sections, two of which in the district of Odunpazari where many emigrants from Bulgaria live. Representatives of the Rumeli Society will be of assistance to the Bulgarian officials who will come to service the sections on election day.
Bilen also said that Rumeli Society representatives visit voters and explain to them how important their participation is for the formation of a stable government in Bulgaria, for the solving in Parliament of the critical issues of those living in Turkiye and are also Bulgarian nationals.
As a society, Rumeli has received assistance from the Eskisehir authorities. Security teams will guard the voting sections and the places where the ballots will be counted, Bilen specified. She expects the voter turnout to exceed that in the previous elections, because the Rumeli Society's preparation was more active now than in October 2022, when around 2,000 votes were cast in Eskisehir. A total of 660 voting applications have been submitted by Eskisehir residents for the April 2 elections.
BULTURK association head Rafet Uluturk told BTA that he does not expect a higher voter turnout. In his words, the voters in Turkiye are worried by the continuous political crisis in Bulgaria. The April 2 elections are the fifth general elections in Bulgaria in two years, he recalled, adding that the voters are tired of voting and of seeing no result after so many elections. They are worried that Bulgaria, which is Turkiye's closest neighbour and with which they are closely connected, lacks a stable government.
He listed as the most frequent problems encountered by voters with dual citizenship in Bulgaria pension problems, issues related to Bulgarian citizenship, visa problems, bureaucratic obstacles, and problems with the study of the Turkish language. The problems remaining unsolved deepens the apathy and unwillingness to vote of the electorate in Turkiye, Uluturk argued.
Dr Kader Ozlem, international relations analyst at the Bursa Uludag University, commented for BTA that he expects a higher voter turnout on April 2 than in October 2022, but considers it unlikely that a stable coalition government will be formed afterwards. "I will not be surprised if parliamentary elections are scheduled for a sixth time," he added.
In an analysis on the forthcoming elections in Bulgaria, Hurriyet daily writes that the goal of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms is to win over 40 seats in Parliament in order to be part of a two-party ruling coalition in Bulgaria. According to the analysis, the voter turnout on April 2 is expected to be low due to the low activity of voters in the last years and citizens being tired of elections, which is why the active participation of citizens in Turkiye on Sunday is going to play a building role in the formation of the Bulgarian government.
There are some 300,000 people with dual citizenship in Turkiye - Turkish and Bulgarian, giving them the right to vote in Bulgarian parliamentary elections.
A total of 162 voter sections will be opened in Turkiye on April 2, making Turkiye the country with the highest number of voting sections abroad. For the first time there will be a voting section in Usak, Western Turkiye. The security of the voting sections, voting machines, and paper ballots, as well as other logistics matters are provided by the Turkish institutions in coordination and cooperation with Bulgaria's diplomatic representations in Turkiye.
The situation was similar in the October 2022 elections, when 166 out of the 755 voting sections abroad were in Turkiye. Next were the UK with 126 and Germany with 77 voting sections. Around 52,000 people voted in Turkiye, some 94% of them for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.