Bulgarians vote in second round of presidential race

Election could see Black Sea state draw closer to traditional ally Russia

Bulgarians vote in second round of presidential race

World Bulletin / News Desk

Bulgarian voters head to the polls on Sunday for the second round of a presidential election just seven days after none of the candidates were able to take a decisive lead.

According to the country's constitution, a candidate should receive 51 percent of the vote to become president.

Turnout in the country's fifth presidential election was less than half of Bulgaria’s nearly seven million registered voters, the Central Election Commission said.

Although first round was won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate, former Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Rumen Radev, who received 24.8 percent, this was not enough to see him elected.

Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva, backed by the ruling center-right GERB party, took 23.5 percent.

If Radev, who favors closer ties with Moscow, wins the second round, opposition parties could try to force an early general election.

Radev has pledged to foster better relations with Russia and remove EU sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The first round of the election was held on Nov. 6 and a referendum on party funding, the method of electing lawmakers and mandatory voting is also being held.

The number of ballots cast was too far from the threshold to make the outcome binding.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced that his party would resign if Tsacheva did not win the election.

The new president is also expected to deal with a possible migrant crisis as the country is on the EU's frontier.

Bulgaria is a member of both NATO and the EU but many in the country still view ties with Russia, Bulgaria’s traditional ally, favorably.

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Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2016, 09:24
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