Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party has decided on its candidate for the presidential elections in autumn 2016, but is declining to disclose the name.
The announcement of the name of the presidential candidate may come only in September, perhaps just before the start of the official campaign period for the elections, expected to be at the end of October.
Incumbent head of state President Rossen Plevneliev, elected at the end of 2011 on a GERB ticket, said on May 20 2016 that he would not be standing for re-election. Bulgaria has a two-term limit for the presidential office, meaning that Plevneliev would have been eligible to stand again.
The head of GERB’s parliamentary group and a deputy leader of the party, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said in an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television on June 3 that GERB has a presidential candidate “but it would not be correct to announce in the studio”.
Tsvetanov noted that no other party had announced the name of its candidate.
He did not say how the candidacy had been decided on, nor did he say whether the candidate was a man or a woman.
Tsvetanov said that the candidate was part of GERB, and expressed confidence that the candidate would draw broad support from outside the party.
GERB already had decided on its presidential campaign slogan and was making very serious preparations for the campaign, he said.
Bulgarian news agency BTA reported that a day later, Tsvetanov told reporters: “We know that an early nomination of a presidential tandem would spark more political populism and too much political confrontation. The country needs stability now”.
Speaking to BNT on June 5, senior GERB MP Dessislava Atanassova, who was a minister in Borissov’s first Cabinet, said that the GERB presidential candidate was “highly recognisable”.
“Bulgarian citizens will not find it difficult to recognise our candidate as the bearer of right-wing values,” she said.
Atanassova said that it would far more important for their candidate to receive broad support from Bulgarian citizens than from the coalition partners.