The closely-contested mayoral by-election in the Bulgarian city of Varna will be decided in a run-off between the two nominees put forth by the country’s largest political parties, it emerged on July 1.
The first round, held on June 30, saw surprisingly low turnout at only 25.7 per cent, nearly half the figure during the 2011 mayoral election. The by-election was called after the city’s long-standing mayor Kiril Yordanov resigned on March 6.
Socialist-backed nominee Ivan Bozov, who acted as interim mayor for a month before being ousted by the city council in a move seen orchestrated by Boiko Borissov’s GERB, will face GERB nominee Ivan Portnih in the run-off.
Bozov led after the first round with 30 per cent of the votes, while Portnih received 26.9 per cent.
Yordanov resigned mid-way into his fourth term as mayor after protests against high electricity prices swept through Bulgaria in February. In Varna – the city where the protests started and which saw also some of the largest rallies – protesters also demanded Yordanov’s resignation, claiming he was too close to powerful business group TIM.
Yordanov stepped down March 6, the day of national mourning for Plamen Goranov, the 36-year-old whose fatal self-immolation on the stone stairway outside Varna city hall became a symbol of civic and political pressure for the mayor to resign.
(Varna municipality building. Photo: Nikola Gruev)