Bulgaria’s incumbent President Roumen Radev has won a second five-year term as head of state, with 63.9 per cent of the vote in the November 21 run-off election, according to the results of an Alpha Research exit poll, released as polling stations in the country closed.
Radev’s GERB-backed challenger, Sofia University rector Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, got 33.1 per cent, while those who chose the “I don’t support anyone” option added up to three per cent, according to Alpha Research.
The run-off election was a sequel to Bulgaria’s November 14 presidential election, in which Radev got 49.42 per cent and Gerdzhikov 22.83 per cent. Twenty-one other candidates were eliminated at the first round.
Radev first won election as head of state in November 2016, with 59.37 per cent of the vote (2 063 032 votes) in a run-off, defeating GERB’s candidate of the time. In that election, voter turnout was 50.44 per cent at the second round.
If confirmed by official results, the outcome of the November 21 2021 vote cements Radev’s place as a key player in Bulgarian politics for the foreseeable future.
One of the parties that endorsed him, We Continue the Change (WCC), won the largest share of seats in the National Assembly in the November 14 early parliamentary elections, and thus is entitled to be first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government.
In the coming week, WCC is to embark on formal negotiations with three other groups in the next Parliament – the Bulgarian Socialist Party, cable television presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition – on the policies and personnel of a government to be put to the vote in the National Assembly.
Together, these four groups have 134 out of 240 seats in the new National Assembly, enough to vote a government into office, should they negotiate an agreement.
They represent themselves as bringing a change to Bulgarian politics, with WCC having campaigned for Radev as the person who “started the change”. In 2019, Radev publicly associated himself with protests against the government of the time, which was headed by GERB leader Boiko Borissov, of whom Radev has been a consistent critic throughout his first term as president.
The November 21 run-off in the presidential election was the latest major political development in a year in Bulgaria which has seen three parliamentary elections, with the first two having failed to produce an elected government.
For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the country’s 2021 elections, please click here.
For further details, please see The Sofia Globe’s Election Factfile.
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