Today marks the beginning of the Pre-Election Campaign for Local Elections in Bulgaria

Elections | September 29, 2023, Friday // 09:25|  views

The pre-election campaign for the elections for municipal councilors and mayors, which will be held on October 29, officially begins today.

The campaign will run until midnight on October 27.

In the case of a second round on the territory of a given municipality, district or town hall, the pre-election campaign begins immediately after the nomination of the candidates by the Municipal Election Commission and ends at 24 hours on the day before the pre-election day.

58 parties and 9 coalitions are registered to participate in the local vote in the Central Election Commission (CEC). On Wednesday, the CEC determined the numbers in the ballot of the political formations. The numbers of the local coalitions and independent candidates on the ballot follow the numbers of the parties and coalitions, according to the order in which the applications were entered in the register of the municipal election commissions.

The pre-election campaign is conducted in Bulgarian language, it is recorded in the decision of the CEC.

Citizens, parties, coalitions, local coalitions, initiative committees, candidates and advocates have freedom of expression and election campaigning in oral and written form at election meetings, as well as through media service providers.

Candidates for municipal councilors and for mayors and the parties, coalitions, local coalitions and initiative committees that have registered candidates have the right to equal access to the sources of information they need for the purposes of the election campaign.

The pre-election meetings are public, and the organizers and the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are responsible for the order in their conduct. Meetings are organized according to the Law on Meetings, Rallies and Manifestations.

Pre-election campaigning is a call to support or not support a candidate, party, coalition, local coalition or initiative committee for participation in the elections for municipal councilors and for mayors on October 29, 2023. The name and symbols of the party and coalition placed on objects, in which do not contain a call for support, are not considered agitation within the meaning of the Electoral Code, the decision of the CEC states.

During the election campaign, candidates, parties, coalitions, local coalitions and initiative committees may prepare and distribute posters, addresses and other campaign materials, and each material must be marked on whose behalf it is issued.

Each campaign material contains information that the buying and selling of votes is a crime, and the information takes up no less than 10 percent of the front area of the campaign material and is located in a designated field. In audio- and audio-visual materials, this information is contained as an unambiguous and comprehensible message.

Pre-election campaigning is prohibited 24 hours before election day and on election day.

Until the end of the elections, the destruction and erasure of campaign materials placed in accordance with the procedure defined in the Election Code is prohibited. In addition, the publication and broadcasting of anonymous materials related to the election campaign is prohibited; the use of campaign materials that endanger the life and health of citizens, private, municipal and state property and traffic safety; campaign materials that offend good morals and harm the honor and good name of the candidates.

Campaign materials containing the coat of arms and/or flag of Bulgaria and/or a foreign country, as well as religious signs or images, are prohibited; the use of state and municipal transport for election campaigning; conducting pre-election campaigning in state and municipal offices, institutions, state and municipal enterprises and in commercial companies with more than 50 percent state or municipal participation in the capital; conducting pre-election campaigning at workplaces by elected officials in trade union and employer organizations; election campaigning by religious officials; the placement of campaign materials of parties, coalitions and initiative committees in the election premises, as well as at a distance of less than 50 meters from the entrance of the building in which the election premises are located, during the election day and until the end of the voting; in a commercial advertisement to make political suggestions in favor or to the detriment of one or another party, coalition or initiative committee or candidate.

The Deputy Chairman of the CEC Rositsa Mateva said:
"To conduct a tolerant campaign, to comply with the requirements of the Election Code and the decisions of the CEC and to present their visions in a way that does not lead to the need to be sanctioned. We really expect a tolerant campaign."

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