Bulgaria’s 2023 local elections: Clear winners in eight city mayor races

Mayoral elections in eight cities serving as the administrative centres of districts in Bulgaria on October 29 have produced clear winners. Of the eight cities, five saw the election of mayors nominated by Boiko Borissov’s GERB party or backed by a combination of GERB and a local coalition.

In Bourgas, the only major city where the race was decided in the first round, incumbent mayor Dimitar Nikolov of GERB won a fifth term with 60.5 per cent of the vote.

Other GERB incumbent mayors to win in a landslide were Kalin Kamenov for a third term in Vratsa (67.1 per cent), Zhivko Todorov for a fourth term in Stara Zagora (55.4 per cent), and Darin Dimitrov for a third term in Turgovishte (69 per cent).

In Montana, incumbent Zlatko Zhivkov won a seventh term as mayor with 62.7 per cent of the vote. Zhivkov was nominated by the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), GERB’s coalition partner at national level, and was backed by several other parties, including GERB.

In Kurdzhali, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms’ (MRF) Erol Myumyun won 60.2 per cent, with 98 per cent of precincts reporting. It will be his first term, replacing MRF’s Hassan Azis, who served five terms as mayor of Kurdzhali, but did not stand in these elections.

Two independents won re-election in Pernik and Yambol. Neither is affiliated with any major national political party, although GERB opted not to put forth mayoral candidates in either city and backed the two incumbents in the mayoral race while fielding its own municipal councilors list.

Stanislav Vladimirov, formerly of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, who left it in February after clashing repeatedly with party leader Kornelia Ninova, won a second term with 80.1 per cent of the vote.

Valentin Revanski of Direct Democracy won a second term as mayor of Yambol with 79.2 per cent of the vote.

In many major cities in Bulgaria, the October 29 mayoral vote did not produce a clear winner, meaning that in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse and several other places, run-off elections will be held on November 5.

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