Bulgaria’s first free and contested elections in over 40 years were held on June 10 and 17, 1990 to choose representatives to its new parliament. Although they were marred by instances of irregularities and intimidation, the Bulgarian parties have accepted the results of the elections. In the words of one opposition leader, the elections were “free and democratic, but not completely fair.”
Based on Commission staff election-day visits to over 30 polling places, the election process appeared to be calm, orderly and, considering the relatively brief period of time in which Bulgarians had to prepare for the elections, fairly well organized and efficient. Election procedures were consistent among precincts and problems appeared to be resolved quickly. This was consistent with the observations of other international observers.
Representatives of different parties and independent observers monitored the majority of polling stations, thus helping to ensure the integrity of the voting process.
Nevertheless, the elections were marred by numerous reports of irregularities and violations during the campaigning and in the elections themselves. The most serious problem appeared to be that of widespread intimidation of opposition supporters and especially voters.