Pro-Russian candidate wins 1st round of Bulgaria’s Presidential elections

BORISLAV TROSHEV

Rumen Radev (C), the presidential candidate of the Initiative Committee, formally supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), speaks to the media after casting his vote in the Presidential elections in Bulgaria, outside a polling station in Sofia, Bulgaria, 06 November 2016. Bulgaria holds the first round of a presidential election with a total of 21 candidates competing for the highest state office in the poorest EU member state. Although the Bulgarian president is elected in a direct vote, unlike the presidents of the USA or France, he has far smaller political powers. According to opinion polls, the new Bulgarian head of state will be elected in a second round of the vote, probably on 13 November 2016, because no candidate is expected to receive the required majority of more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first round.

Pro-Russian candidate wins 1st round of Bulgaria’s Presidential elections


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The Socialist Party’s candidate appears to have won the first round of Bulgaria’s Presidential elections on Sunday. At least half of Bulgaria’s eligible voters went to the polls.  General Rumen Radev got between 24,8 and 26,7% according to exit polls.

A runoff election will take place on November 13, which Radev is expected to win. The candidate favoured by the government, Tsetska Tsacheva, got 22,5%.

Radev,53, is a former air force commander and an MIG fighter jet pilot. He campaigned on a promise to promote closer relations with Russia and will call for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. However, he insists that does not mean drifting away from Euro-Atlantic values.

Although the Presidency is largely a ceremonial post, the Socialists will now seek new legislative elections.

The ruling center-right GERB is leading a minority government, and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov promised to resign if Tsacheva lost; on Sunday evening, Borisov reiterated his threat.

Besides a President, Bulgarians voted for a number of issues in a simultaneous referendum.

79% of Bulgarians voted in favour of a majoritarian electoral system; 70% voted for a mandatory voting system; 80% for the reduction of state subsidies for political parties. The result appears to be valid, as more than 50% of Bulgarians went to the polls.

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