Analysis of the ACF: GERB and the Movement for Rights and freedom win the biggest share of votes in polling stations at risk

You have before you the latest study of the Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF), dedicated to the controlled and bought vote in Bulgaria. More than 30 years after the beginning of the political changes, the problem of electoral manipulation remains painful. This fact points to a tacit consensus, among at least a portion of the political ‘elite,’ for perpetuating flawed electoral practices. The ACF, in a series of studies, analyzed this problem. Based on three models, they highlighted 1,738 polling stations where there is a persistently higher risk of controlled and bought votes. According to the ACF, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), GERB, and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) have for years been the top three political formations to receive the most votes at risk. Based on empirical data analysis, these parties are seriously suspected of systematically obtaining a sizable proportion of their votes through electoral manipulation. In the early parliamentary elections on 2 October 2022, the MRF remains the party with the most votes ‘at risk’ – 88,400 votes or nearly 42% of the votes at risk in total for the country as a whole. The share of votes at risk in the overall result for MRF in October was 30.5%, for GERB-UDF – nearly 8%, and for BSP – 7.4%.

You can download the analysis here.

Абонирайте се за бюлетина на АКФ, за да научавате за най-новите ни разследвания и анализи:

С натискане на бутона потвърждавате, че сте запознати с Политиката ни за поверителност

Key findings of the analysis

In the 1738 polling stations at risk, with recurring risk behavior, a slight increase in the turnout can be observed. It can be noted, that for the period July 2021 – October 2022 the number of votes, casted in the sections at risk in the country is relatively stable.

The highest share of votes at risk from all the votes in the country, measured by sections with reoccurring risk behavior, are registered in the electoral districts of Kardzhali, Burgas and Blagoevgrad.

The highest increase of the number of voted in such sections can be registered in the electoral districts of Plovdiv (city), Vidin, and Kyustendil. In the electoral districts of Yambol and Pleven a decrease is observed. Highest share of controlled voting is registered in the municipalities of Kardzhai, Haskovo and

An increase in the results of The Rights and freedom movement in the sections at risk. They maintain their leadership position for votes, casted at polling stations at risk.
Compared to the sections at risk, showing deviations on these elections, the highest share of votes at risk are registered in Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad and Stara Zagora.
The highest votes in risk sections, compared to all the sections at risk in the electoral district, can be observed in Targovisthe, Lovech and Montana.

Saturation of all the sections with deviations can be observed in Gurkovo, Yakimovo, Hayredin, Teteven, Brusartci, Bratya Daskalovi, Hitrino, Medkovetc, and Zlataritsa.

In 144 polling stations, a serious saturation of preferential voting can be observed (over 85% of the votes for one party are casted for one candidate), which is a strong indicator for controlled or purchased vote.

On these elections no serious deviation in the number of registered citizens by administrative units, prior to the elections can be observed