The voting process was proceeding smoothly on November 6 2016 as Bulgarians were called to the polls to choose a new President, according to election commission and security officials.
There are 21 candidates vying to be Bulgaria’s next head of state.
The President does not head the government but has a largely ceremonial role, albeit with significant constitutional powers such as a limited power of veto over legislation, the right to appoint and withdraw – on the recommendation of the Cabinet – ambassadors, and the power to appoint a caretaker government in the event of an elected goverment’s term ending prematurely and opening the way for parliamentary elections.
The President also is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and has a share in appointments to the Supreme Judicial Council and the Constitutional Court. During the term of Bulgaria’s next President, which begins in January 2017, the head of state will have to appoint two Constitutional Court judges to replace two whose terms will expire.
In the November 2016 presidential elections, voting is compulsory, for the first time since Parliament legislated this in regard to national elections earlier in 2016.
Official figures are that 6 834 278 Bulgarians are eligible to vote in the presidential elections.
The winner of the November 2016 elections will be Bulgaria’s fifth democratically-elected President. Incumbent head of state Rossen Plevneliev, elected in November 2011 and who took office in January 2012, has chosen not to seek a second term.
Should no clear winner emerge on November 6, a second round will be held on November 13. For a first-round victory, voter turnout must exceed 50 per cent and the candidate with the most votes must have got 50+1 per cent of the votes of those who went to the polls on election day.
On November 6, Bulgaria also is holding a three-question national referendum. Voting in the referendum is not compulsory.
For further details of Bulgaria’s 2016 elections, please see sofiaglobe.com’s Election Factfile.