Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party is proposing holding the first round of the country’s 2016 presidential elections on November 6, with a second round on November 13 if no candidate scores outright victory.
GERB deputy leader Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters on July 6 that all other political parties supported this proposal, except the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), while an answer was still awaited from the opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the third-largest party in the National Assembly.
BSP leader Kornelia Ninova has called for an October 23 election date. She said that November should be free of political campaigning so that Parliament could concentrate on the national Budget for 2017.
The current head of state, President Rossen Plevneliev, has said that he will not stand as a candidate for a second term. Plevneliev, elected in 2011 on a GERB ticket and who took office in January 2012, said that his reasons for not standing for a second term were personal.
No major party has yet announced its presidential candidate.
Tsvetanov said recently that the GERB candidate was a party member. Borissov’s party is to announce its candidate in September.
BSP leader Ninova has said repeatedly that she will not be her party’s presidential candidate. The BSP has been attempting to agree on a joint candidate with socialist breakaway party ABC, formerly part of the government and now in opposition.
A Bulgarian president has a term of office of five years. To be eligible for election, a candidate must a natural-born Bulgarian citizen, over the age of 40, must meet the criteria for eligibility for election to the National Assembly, and must have been resident in Bulgaria for the past five years.
The post is largely ceremonial, although the president has limited powers of veto over legislation, decides the dates of parliamentary elections, appoints and removes diplomats on the recommendation of the Cabinet, decrees the awarding or removal of Bulgarian citizenship, may grant asylum or decree a pardon, hands mandates to govern and appoints caretaker cabinets. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
(Photo: Neil Simon via oscepa/flickr.com)