Bulgaria’s 2021 elections: 23 presidential candidates

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission has accepted the registrations of 23 candidates in the November 14 2021 presidential elections, it emerged after the October 12 deadline for applications.

This is the largest number of candidates in a presidential election in Bulgaria since the country began direct democratic elections of its head of state. Previously, the highest number was 21, in 1992 and 2016.

To be elected at the first round, a candidate must win 50 per cent or more of valid votes, with a minimum voter turnout of 50 per cent. If this does not happen, a second round is held between the top two candidates.

Among the candidates are incumbent Roumen Radev, seeking the second and final five-year term allowed by the constitution. Radev has been endorsed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the We Continue the Change party recently founded by former caretaker ministers Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev, Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party and the “Rise Up Bulgaria! We’re Coming” coalition.

Other candidates are:

Sofia University rector Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, nominated by an initiative committee and endorsed by the GERB-UDF coalition. Gerdzhikov’s vice-presidential running mate is Colonel Nevyana Miteva.

Supreme Court of Cassation president Lozan Panov, nominated by an initiative committee and endorsed by the Democratic Bulgaria coalition. Panov’s running mate is journalist Maria Kassimova-Moisset.

Yolo Denev and Mario Filev, nominated by an initiative committee.

Nikolai Malinov and Svetlana Koseva, nominated by Revival of the Fatherland. Malinov leads the Russophile Movement in Bulgaria.

Rossen Milenov and Ivan Ivanov, nominated by an initiative committee.

Valeri Simeonov and Tsvetan Manchev, nominated by the Patriotic Front coalition, which includes Simeonov’s National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria party.

Kostadin Kostadinov and Elena Guncheva. Kostadinov leads the pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane party.

Goran Blagoev and Ivelina Georgieva, nominated by National Union of the Right – Republicans for Bulgaria and KOD. Blagoev is a former Bulgarian National Television journalist; Republicans for Bulgaria was founded by Tsvetan Tsvetanov and KOD by Petar Moskov.

Blagoy Petrevski and Sevina Hadjiyska, nominated by Bulgarian Union for Direct Democracy.

Marina Mancheva and Savina Lukanova, nominated by an initiative committee.

Alexander Tomov and Luchezar Avramov, nominated by Bulgarian Social Democracy.

Volen Siderov and Magdalena Tasheva, nominated by the Ataka party, which Siderov leads.
Boyan Rasate and Elena Vatashka, nominated by an initiative committee. Rasate formerly led the extreme-right Bulgarian National Union Edelweiss and now heads Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy.
Zhelyo Zhelev and Kalin Krulev, nominated by Society of New Bulgaria. Zhelev has the same name as Bulgaria’s first democratically-elected president, who died in 2015.

Svetoslav Vitkov and Veselin Belokonski, nominated by Glas Naroden, which Vitkov leads.

Luna Yordanova and Iglena Ilieva, nominated by an initiative committee.

Mustafa Karadayi and Iskra Mihailova, nominated by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, of which Karadayi is the leader.

Tsveta Kirilova and Georgi Tutanov, nominated by an initiative committee.

Maria Koleva and Gancho Popov, nominated by Pravoto party.

Milen Mihov and Maria Tsvetkova, nominated by Krassimir Karakachanov’s ultra-nationalist VMRO. Mihov formerly was employed by Veliko Turnovo University but was dismissed, for reasons he disputes.

Georgi Georgiev and Stoyan Tsvetkov, nominated by Bulgarian National Union – BNU, a minor self-proclaimed “patriotic” party led by Georgiev and whose manifesto rails against “globalists”, naming these as including the Rothschilds and George Soros.

Vesselin Mareshki and Polina Tsankova, nominated by the Volya party, which Mareshki leads. A deputy speaker in a previous National Assembly, in which his parliamentary group was the smallest, Mareshki specialises in cut-price pharmaceutical and fuel chains, and like Denev, Tomov and Siderov (and of course Radev) has been a presidential candidate before.

(Photo of the entrance to the President’s office in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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