April 13. 2024. 5:37

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Bulgaria blames Russians for election chaos


Bomb threats sent via email that led to the closure this past week of hundreds of Bulgarian schools set to act as polling stations for 2 April elections were hybrid attacks linked to Russia, Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said.

According to Ivaylo Mirchev from the pro-European coalition PP-DB, the bomb threats had one purpose: return Bulgaria to a state of fear and further reduce voter turnout.

“The bomb threats hurt the democratic process and are unlikely to stop soon,” Mirchev said, adding on Facebook that the low voter turnout it will likely cause for the upcoming election will cause a “time bomb” that can divert Bulgaria from its civilisational direction and return it not only to the past but also to the Kremlin’s orbit.

In an attempt to reassure citizens, the Interior Ministry guaranteed there will be no danger in the upcoming election.

The ministry will carry out a physical inspection of each polling station on Saturday and will then have continuous security on site until the election process is fully completed, Demerdzhiev said.

Even if there are threats of explosive devices, there is no way for them to be put in the schools, he told journalists.

“The investigation will soon have definitive data on where these threats are coming from,” he pointed out, adding that the investigation is going on the territory of several countries.

Both he and President Rumen Radev said there were no real grounds for concern for the education system or the elections.

“The security services are monitoring these processes. There are no grounds for concern at this time,” said Demerdzhiev, while Radev said the attacks posed no real threat.

Law enforcement agencies, along with partner agencies, are doing everything possible to identify the sources of these threats and neutralise them, the president added.

While no actual bomb has so far been found in any of the targeted schools, the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office opened a case of terrorism.

On the fourth day of bomb threats, children aged 12 and 14 made false alarms about explosive devices in two different cities. Police took immediate action.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)