Bulgaria's Deputy Chief Prosecutor: 371 075 of Illegally Printed Ballots for May 12 Vote Were Fit to Use

Domestic | June 27, 2013, Thursday // 13:46|  views

Bulgaria's Deputy Chief Prosecutor Boris Sarafov, photo by BGNES

A total of 351 075 of the ballots seized from a Kostinbrod-based printing house on the eve of the May 12 early elections were fit to use in the election process, according to Bulgaria's Deputy Chief Prosecutor Boris Sarafov.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Sarafov, as cited by the BGNES news agency, announced that the expert analysis of the ballots was ready and reminded that the total number of ballots seized during the police operation at the Multiprint printing house was 475 417.

He emphasized that the authorities had taken all necessary steps to prevent the valid ballots from reaching polling stations on May 12.

Sarafov told journalists that the invalid extra ballots had flaws such as tearing, crumpling, etc, but none of them carried special signs.

He said that a total of 40 000 of the seized ballots had been earmarked for overseas polling stations, while the rest was to be distributed to all constituencies in the country.

Sarafov informed that the prosecuting authority had examined 28 witnesses, conducted 29 inspections of exhibits, and 3 seizures, adding that the person who had leaked preliminary investigation documents to the media using his name on May 16 had not been identified yet.

Bulgaria's Deputy Chief Prosecutor added that the owner of the Kostinbrod-based printing house, Yordan Bonchev, had suggested during the questioning that the production process for the ballots had been accompanied by a number of mistakes.

Sarafov refused to specify what had made Bonchev change his account of the extra ballots within a few hours and several phone calls because it would constitute disclosure of confidential information.

Late on May 10, a team of prosecutors and officers of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS) stormed into a printing facility in the western town of Kostinbrod and seized a large load of ballots.

It was reported that the Multiprint company had been awarded a public procurement contract worth around BGN 800 000 to print and deliver 7.8 million ballots for the May 12 early elections.

The firm had been under an obligation to print and deliver the ballots to the district administrations by May 8.

The printing house is owned by a municipal councilor in Kostinbrod from the formerly-ruling center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, which prompted opposition parties to accuse GERB of an attempted voting fraud.

The owner initially claimed that the extra ballots had been printed by mistake but shortly after that he argued that they were technical spoilage.

GERB leader and former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, insisted his party's chances had been damaged by allegations.

Bulgarians went to the polls on May 12 to elect a new Parliament after the GERB government led by Borisov resigned on February 20 amid nationwide anti-poverty and corruption protests.

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Tags: Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Kostinbrod, illegal ballots, early elections, GDBOP, GERB, GERB government


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