With the Central Election Commission having announced all ballots tallied, both rounds of Bulgaria’s 2019 local elections are over, bar whatever shouting – and court actions – there may be.
The scorecard shows that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB party won the mayoral elections in, out of 27 “regional centres” – meaning, cities that are capitals of districts, a total of 17. While the number is large, it is less than the dominating performance in major cities achieved by GERB in the previous scheduled local elections in 2015.
Of GERB’s victories, eight were at the first round and nine at the second. Borissov’s party also found itself in more second-round contests than four years ago.
Kornelia Ninova’s opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party regained ground it had lost four years earlier, retaking the mayoral chairs – either with candidates in its own name or that it backed – in Blagoevgrad, Pernik and Razgrad, and decisively thrashing GERB’s candidate in Bulgaria’s Danube city of Rousse, where Borissov’s party had won at the first round in 2015.
Apart from GERB’s victories, of the 27 regional centres, the BSP won in four (all at the second round), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms held its traditional stronghold in Kurdzhali (at the first round), while five contests were won by mayoral candidates from local coalitions or initiative committees.
In Sofia, Maya Manolova, the socialist-backed mayoral candidate who stood as an independent and was defeated by GERB incumbent mayor Yordanka Fandukova, is poised to challenge the election in court. In Shoumen, the GERB victory stands out as strikingly narrow, by 77 votes at the second round.
Pending the Central Election Commission’s announcement of final results and barring the outcome of any challenges in court, the list of mayors elected, either at the first round on October 27 or the second on November 3, is:
Blagoevgrad: Roumen Tomov (initiative committee) – a GERB loss.
Bourgas: Dimitar Nikolov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Varna: Ivan Portnih, GERB – a GERB hold.
Veliko Turnovo: Daniel Panov – a GERB hold.
Vidin: Tsvetan Tsenkov, UDF local coalition – a GERB loss.
Vratsa: Kalin Kamenov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Gabrovo: Tanya Hristova, GERB – a GERB hold.
Dobrich: Yordan Yordanov, Bulgaria for Citizens local coalition – a hold for Yordanov, elected in 2015 on a different ticket.
Kurdzhali: Hassan Azis, Movement for Rights and Freedoms – an MRF hold.
Kyustendil: Petar Paunov, GERB local coalition – Paunov also won in 2015, on the ticket of a local coalition.
Lovech: Kornelia Marinova, GERB – a GERB hold.
Montana: Zlatko Zhivkov, UDF local coalition – a hold.
Pazardzhik: Todor Popov, Novoto Vreme – a hold for Popov, elected in 2015 on a different ticket.
Pernik: Stanislav Vladimirov, Bulgarian Socialist Party – a GERB loss.
Pleven: Georg Spartanski, local coalition – a hold.
Plovdiv: Zdravko Dimitrov, GERB – a hold for GERB; in 2015, Ivan Totev was elected mayor on its ticket.
Razgrad: Dencho Boyadzhiev, Bulgarian Socialist Party – a GERB loss.
Rousse: Pencho Milkov, Bulgarian Socialist Party – a GERB loss.
Silistra: Yuliyan Naidenov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Sliven: Stefan Radev, GERB – a GERB hold.
Smolyan: Nikolai Melemov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Sofia: Yordanka Fandukova, GERB – a GERB hold.
Stara Zagora: Nikolai Kolev, Agrarian National Union local coalition – a GERB loss.
Turgovishte: Darin Dimitrov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Haskovo: Delcho Delchev, Bulgarian Socialist Party – a GERB loss.
Shoumen: Lyubomir Hristov, GERB – a GERB hold.
Yambol: Valentin Revanski, Direct Democracy -a GERB loss.