Bulgaria’s 2023 municipal elections: Governing coalition’s parties rival mayoral candidates

With the September 26 deadline for nominations looming, the names of the mayoral candidates in Bulgaria’s four largest cities put forward by the two coalitions that voted the national government into office have become known.

While supporting the national government, Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF and the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria coalition are rivals in the country’s October 29 municipal and mayoral elections.

Borissov ended weeks of uncertainty and speculation about GERB’s candidate for mayor of Sofia with the announcement on September 25 of the candidacy of Anton Hekimyan, until recently head of news at commercial television station bTV and who has no previous experience in politics or public administration.

In June, WCC-DB got in early with its nomination, business person Vassil Terziev, before then best known for his lucrative Telerik deal in 2014. Controversy has attended Terziev’s candidacy because several close relatives worked for Bulgaria’s communist-era secret service State Security.

In Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv, WCC-DB has nominated Ivailo Staribratov, professor of mathematics at the city’s Paisii Hilendarski University and formerly head of Plovdiv’s mathematics high school.

Borissov announced on September 24 that GERB’s candidate for mayor of Plovdiv was Konstantin Dimitrov, three-time mayor of Plovdiv’s Trakia district.

In Varna, GERB has nominated incumbent Ivan Portnih, mayor since July 2013, for a further term. WCC-DB has nominated business person Blagomir Kotsev.

In Bourgas, GERB has nominated Dimitar Nikolov, in his fourth term as mayor, for a further term.

The WCC-DB coalition did not agree on a joint candidacy in Bourgas. WCC is backing business person Konstantin Bachiiski, while Democratic Bulgaria is backing lawyer Dimitar Naidenov.

(Photo: Interior Ministry)

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