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Election Day for Bulgarians living abroad has begun 

Vote in Christchurch, New Zealand, April 2, 2023.
Photo: BGNES

The first two polling stations abroad in Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand opened at 7 am local time (22:00 Bulgarian time last night) for the 49th National Assembly elections, the Foreign Ministry said. 

Voting in Australia began two hours later. Election day abroad is expected to end at the latest at polling stations in California, USA - at 6 pm Bulgarian time (3 pm GMT) on Monday, 3 April. 

Bulgarian citizens can exercise their right to vote in 61 countries, in 737 polling stations. In 245 of the polling stations where machine voting is provided, the machines have been delivered to the Bulgarian diplomatic and consular missions.

The largest number of polling stations are in Turkey, where 350 thousand people have the right to vote, but only 10% of the Bulgarian voters in the country are expected to go to the polls.

In Greece, Bulgarian citizens can vote in 21 polling stations. 5 are in Athens, where the largest part of the diaspora is registered. There are another 5 polling stations in five towns on the island of Crete. Bulgarians can also vote in Alexandroupolis, Komotini, Kavala, Stavros and in Thessaloniki. Queues of people waiting to vote had formed when several polling stations opened in the morning.

There are 15 polling stations in Belgium, with the largest number in Brussels. Two are in Bulgaria's permanent mission and two in the embassy. The others are in Antwerp, Ghent, Waregem, Leuven, Maasmechelen and Hasselt. In Belgium there are 45,000 Bulgaria nationals and another 10,000 with dual nationality. Between 40,000 and 45,000 people are eligible to vote, but usually between 10-15% of them vote, with the lowest turnout last July.

There are 2 polling stations in Luxembourg, where there are about 2,000 Bulgarians and approximately 700 of them vote.

Low turnout is expected in France. Three of 16 polling stations in this country are in Bulgaria's embassy in Paris. In Montpellier and Toulouse two polling stations are located at new addresses. Machine voting is available at the polling stations in the French capital, Nice and Lyon.

In the UK, Bulgarians vote in 118 polling stations. In 35 of them there are machines, and in the rest of them Bulgarian citizens will exercise their right to vote with paper ballots.

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

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