It’s probably best to wait a while before drawing conclusions about the Bulgarian election, but for those who want to follow along here’s a quick guide on how to do so. (Yesterday’s preview is here.)

The Bulgarian electoral commission is publishing the results here. The notation at the top tells you the time and the proportion of polling places reporting – currently “Резултати за страната към 06:15 часа при обработени 69.389% протоколи на СИК в РИК.” So it’s 6.15am in Bulgaria (i.e. 1.15pm eastern Australian time) and 69.4% have reported. That hasn’t changed for a while; it’s quite likely that electoral staff, having counted all night, have now gone to bed and will resume sometime later today.

The column graph then tells you the percentage of the vote gained so far by each party. The numbers key to the list below, which of course is in Bulgarian, but 15 is the ruling party, GERB (it stands for Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, but they just use the acronym); 5 is the opposition Socialist Party (running as “Coalition for Bulgaria”); 40 is the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the liberal Turkish-based party; and 14 is the far-right party “Attack”.

The threshold for representation is 4%, so only those four look like getting into parliament. Two others are close: the nationalist National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (number 4) on 3.7% and the centrist Movement of Bulgaria for the Citizens (number 33) on 3.4%.

A D’Hondt calculation* of the percentages for the top four should then give you the allocation of 209 of the seats in the National Assembly. I make it GERB 87, Socialists 76, MRF 25 and Attack 21.

The remaining 31 seats are allocated on a constituency basis by first-past-the-post. The constituencies are listed down the left-hand side of the page, in alphabetical order. (Ignore the first line, “страната” (country), which takes you back to the national totals, and the last one, “ДКП”, which I think is for voters from abroad.) By clicking on them you’ll find that GERB is currently leading in 17, the Socialists in eleven and the MRF in three.

So adding the two sorts of seats together gives us the following:

GERB 104
Bulgarian Socialist Party 87
Movement for Rights and Freedoms 28
Attack 21


If those results hold up with further counting, then GERB and the MRF between them would have a working majority. Co-operation between, however, them is by no means assured, since GERB is badly on the nose – the discovery of a consignment of unregistered ballot papers just before polling day is only the latest in a string of scandals.

But since none of the other three will work with the far right, the only other option for a parliamentary majority would be some sort of understanding between GERB and the Socialists, and that looks even more unlikely.


* How to do a D’Hondt calculation: on a spreadsheet set out the percentages for every party that’s above 4%; divide each figure by some common divisor (try 0.0036); add up the results that you get, ignoring all remainders. If the total is 209, you’re done; if it’s not, keep adjusting the divisor up or down until it is.

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