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Bulgarian embassy in Athens surprised by the high voting activity

05 July 2009 / 11:07:29  GRReporter
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Maria Spassova

Long lines formed in front of the Bulgarian embassy in Athens, of people who wanted to give their vote for a new parliament in Bulgaria. A month ago, during the EU parliament elections, the embassy was pleasantly surprised again, because there was only one voting section and people had to wait more than an hour, in order to place their votes. This time, there were two voting sections in the embassy but the people who wanted to vote for the national parliament were much more.

It is true, there was no chaos on the lines and everybody was calmly waiting for their turn. People had come in good mood and with confidence that they are doing something good for their country. Few conclusions can be made from the many Bulgarians who voted in Greece. The first one is that it would be naïve to believe that from the tens and thousands of Bulgarians living in Athens, only 500 would go and vote—in other words, there must always be more voting sections.

The second is that obviously there is a change in the demographic character of the Bulgarian community in Athens, which right now consists of more young and educated people, with higher social status in the Greek society and with a higher social responsibility for political activity. Such people usually vote. The third conclusion is that because Greece is Bulgaria’s neighbor, Bulgarians here do not exclude the possibility to return to their home country in the near future and this is why they are not indifferent. They need to have the right to vote.

The voters lines in front of the Bulgarian embassy in Athens, during the last two elections for EU and national parliament, refute the words of the Bulgarian foreign minister Ivaylo Kalfin that voting abroad is expensive and pointless act. During his last speech as a leader of Bulgarian diplomacy, he stroke a balance and said that voting sections abroad are very expensive and not many people go and vote. This does not count for Athens.

To the question whether more voting sections can be opened, the Bulgarian embassy replies that the Greek state allows voting only on the territory of the embassy. Then, let us use the opportunities it gives us. At least 4 voting sections can be opened there – two in the embassy’s building, as it was today, one in the consulate building and one in the hall of the ambassador’s residency. This way, voting will be quicker and more effective.

Otherwise, all elections are a celebration of democracy, no matter where we live.  

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