At exactly 7 a.m. - or midnight Bulgarian time - the polling stations in Australia opened their doors for our compatriots who are willing to vote for the future of Bulgaria. A total of 6 polling stations are available for them in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
"This morning I had the opportunity to exercise my right to vote at the ballot box here in Melbourne, and I thank the organizers and the members of the commission for the normal and peaceful election process," Mincho Kissyov, who has lived in Melbourne for years, told Radio Bulgaria, adding that he voted with hope for his homeland.
Sonia Arabadzhieva, head of the folk group Bulgari in Melbourne, has a similar attitude. However, she openly expresses her disappointment with the Bulgarian political class, which is unable to lead the country out of the current political impasse. "We need to vote today because it is high time our politicians stop bickering and start thinking about Bulgaria, said Sonia Arabadzhieva. "According to our polling station officials, the turnout so far is the same as the last elections in 2022, with about 80 people having voted by 3pm our time," she said.
"We have a large voter turnout in Australia, having in mind that we are not as numerous as Bulgarians in Europe or in the USA, where there are large Bulgarian communities. We are a handful of people here, but we still vote each and every time. And then, we see that again, there is no cabinet because the percentage configuration of the parties does not allow it. Yes, people vote here, although much more could be desired. In Melbourne I can say that we are loved by God because we have our temple of God - the Bulgarian Church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. And this year the election is being held in the church hall in the churchyard. We always light a candle for our country before we vote. In these elections people here vote for a better future so that we can go back there and contribute to the prosperity of our country and its worthy place in Europe, which no one can take away from it."Today's election day began with a service by Father Velin Iliev at the Bulgarian Church Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Before proceeding to the polls, many stopped in the temple to pray.
Famed Bulgarian sculptor Gancho Taskov was born in Kyustendil 73 years ago, but has spent most of his life in Australia. He says he voted in this election again in the hope that Bulgaria will overcome its crisis, poverty and lack of direction. And he urges all Bulgarian voters to be more active on election day.
"I can't put up with people living like this. My homeland does not deserve this! - says Gancho Taskov, adding: I want Bulgaria to be free, independent. It should neither be bound to the USA nor to Russia, but have friendly relations and be a light in the world as a peace-loving country. I want the people of Bulgaria to have a more decent life, with a higher standard, better medical care, etc. But for this all Bulgarians should turn sincerely to themselves and decide to vote today, not to be passive. I know they are desperate about what is happening in Bulgaria and they do not trust the politicians, but let them gather strength! A government must be formed, a regular functioning cabinet must be in place to meet the demands of the people. And if after a few months the government does not fulfill its promises, this government should give way to another, better one" - Gancho Taskov says in conclusion.
English version: Elizabeth Radkova
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