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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters

The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaira gives every citizen above the age of 18, except those placed under judicial interdiction or serving a prison sentence, to elect state and local authorities and to vote in referendums. 

There are no imminent plans to lower the voting age limit.

The Bulgarian legislation does not provide for special provisions with regard to the voting right in terms of young people.

A research carried out in 2020 upon assignment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports shows that the share of Bulgarian young people who are not interested in politics is high – 73 %. Hardly 3% of them are very interested in politics, and 22% are rather interested. The share of young people who are interested in politics increases with the age. The youngest one (15-19) are most disinterested in politics, and the education level is also crucial in terms of interest to politics – the share of young people with higher education who are interested in politics is higher than of the others.

Despite the high levels of disinterest in political life, young people declare that they vote always or frequently. Flash Eurobarometer 478 held in 2019 shows that 71% of young people in Bulgaria have voted in local, national or European Parliament elections (EU 72%).

There are no official statistics about the turnout of young people in the national, local and European Parliament elections.

Young people as political representatives

The existence and functioning of political parties in the Republic of Bulgaria is governed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Political Parties Act (Закон за политическите партии). According to the Political Parties Act, political parties may establish their youth, women and other organisations.

The age limit for standing as a candidate for the National Assembly is 18 years. Candidates for president must be 40 years of age. There is no quota of seats reserved for young people and the national legislation governing election rights does not set out special regime for specific age groups participating in their capacity of candidates in different types of elections.

The data provided by the Central Electoral Commission for young people standing as candidates in national, local and European Parliament elections show as follows:

European Parliament elections – 26 May 2019:

  • Total number of candidates: 318
  • Candidates up to 29 years of age, inclusive: 48 (15.09%)
  • Candidates’ average age: 42.36 years

Local elections – 27 October 2019, second round:

  • Total number of candidates: 1155
  • Candidates up to 29 years of age, inclusive: 42 (5.02%)
  • Candidates’ average age: 48.5 years

National elections – 14 November 2021:

  • Total number of candidates: 5062
  • Candidates up to 29 years of age, inclusive: 469 (9.27%)
  • Candidates’ average age: 45.60 years

As at March 2023, there is no National Assembly working in the country. The caretaker government is in charge of the governance of the state and is preparing the elections for National Assembly.

For example, among the 240 members of the last but one 47th National Assembly (operating from December 2021 to June 2022), 52 members were up to 35 years of age.