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Round table discussion: Local Elections: Results and Interpretations
On November 26, 2003 the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Bulgarian Sociological Association organized a round table discussion on the sociological view of the results of the 2003 local elections and the specifics of the regional vote for the left-wing parties, the Union of the Democratic Forces, the National Movement Simeon II and the Movement for Rights and Freedom, as well as the post-electoral situation.

Mr. Alexander Kotzev, Regional Statistics and Environment Department, National Statistical Institute described the link between the socio-economic characteristics of the regions and election results. He discussed the election results in the 28 Bulgarian regions compared on indicators such as the age dependency ratio, natural population growth, life expectancy at birth, ethnic groups, gross value added and GDP per capita.

Dr. Mira Yanova, Director, Institute for Marketing and Social Surveys, MBMD talked about the regional vote for the Union of the Democratic Forces, as well as the specifics of the right-winged parties in Bulgaria. She presented statistics about the relative and absolute share of people who voted for the various parties’ candidates for mayors and regional councils and compared it with the results from the 1999 elections. The socio-demographic profile of the electorate was also considered. Dr. Yanova stressed on the decrease in UDF support among the population aged between 18 and 39, with higher education, residents of the capital and other major cities. Similar decrease is observed among other demographic groups. Dr. Yanova concluded that the people did not embrace the socialist party in the 2001 parliamentary and 2003 local elections and preferred to vote for a pro-NATO and pro-European alternative.

Mr. Stanislav Stoyanov, Manager, Alpha Research presented the regional vote for the National Movement Simeon II (NMS II) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). He compared the number of votes and mandates won by the two parties, as well as the number of municipalities, in which the parties have run for mayor and the actually elected mayors in 1999 and 2003. His conclusion was that MRF is opening up to a broader circle of people and it is not an ethnic party any more, while NMS II has a little, but evenly distributed support all over the country.

View the round table agenda and presentations

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