Bulgaria’s 2023 municipal elections: ‘Non-coalition’ partners face off in Sofia district mayor run-offs

The run-offs for district mayors in Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia are set to test the already-strained relations between the two largest coalitions backing the country’s government.

Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF coalition and the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (WCC-DB) coalition both support the Cabinet of Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, albeit without a formal agreement in place and are sometimes colloquially referred to as “the non-coalition”.

WCC-DB ran on a joint ticket with the Spasi Sofia (“Save Sofia”) civic association-turned-political party in the city and its mayoral candidate, Vassil Terziev, placed first with 31.9 per cent.

GERB-UDF, which has run the Bulgarian capital since 2005, first with Borissov as mayor between 2005 and 2009, then with Yordanka Fandukova – the city’s first female mayor and its longest serving one at 14 years in office – saw its candidate Anton Hekimyan miss the run-off after coming in third with 17.8 per cent.

Terziev looks set to face Vanya Grigorova, a trade union economist backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and a host of small parties (made up largely of those excommunicated from Ninova’s BSP or schismatic from it). Grigorova got 21.6 per cent of the vote.

However, WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia failed to win an outright majority in the municipal councillor elections, getting 34.4 per cent, and may have to strike a deal with GERB-UDF, which was second with 20 per cent, in order to govern Bulgaria’s capital city.

At district level, GERB-UDF had won 12 of 24 district mayoral seats in 2019, with Democratic Bulgaria (now part of WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia coalition) winning eight, BSP winning one and independent candidates carrying three other districts.

One district in Sofia elected its mayor at the first time of asking, with incumbent Traicho Traikov in Sredets winning 53.7 per cent of the vote. In Triaditsa, incumbent Dimitar Bozhilov was close to securing another term in office after getting 50.6% of the vote, with Central Election Commission data showing 99.2 per cent of Sofia voting precincts reporting.

In the remaining 22 districts, run-offs will be held on November 5, featuring the two candidates that received the most votes on October 29 (percentages indicate the share of the vote in the first round).

Bankya: Incumbent Rangel Markov (GERB-UDF) with 45.7 per cent and either Anton Brankov (Vuzrazhdane) with 19.4 per cent or Georgi Atanassov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia). The difference between Brankov and Atanassov was two votes.

Vitosha: Zarko Klinkov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 34.9 per cent and incumbent Teodor Petkov (GERB-UDF) with 28.4 per cent.

Vrubnitsa: Incumbent Mladen Mladenov (GERB-UDF) with 28.9 per cent and Roumen Kostadinov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 21.2 per cent.

Vuzrazhdane: Stanislav Iliev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 36 per cent and incumbent Savina Savova (GERB-UDF) with 23.9 per cent.

Izgrev: Incumbent Delyan Georgiev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 46.8 per cent and Diyan Stamatov (GERB-UDF) with 18.6 per cent.

Ilinden: Incumbent Ivan Bozhilov (GERB-UDF) with 28.3 per cent and Emil Branchevski (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 28 per cent.

Iskur: Yassen Roussev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 25.1 per cent and incumbent Ivailo Tsekov (GERB-UDF) with 21.6 per cent.

Krasna Polyana: Dimitar Petrov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 27.1 per cent and incumbent Ivan Chakurov (GERB-UDF) with 22 per cent.

Krasno Selo: Tsveta Nikolaeva (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 34.7 per cent and Roumen Roussev (GERB-UDF) with 17.7 per cent.

Kremikovtsi: Incumbent Lilia Donkova (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 41.4 per cent and Boris Petrov (GERB-UDF) with 29.9 per cent.

Lozenets: Incumbent Konstantin Pavlov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 40.9 per cent and Anzhelina Toteva (GERB-UDF) with 16 per cent.

Lyulin: Incumbent Milko Mladenov (GERB-UDF) with 23.7 per cent and Georgi Todorov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 23.7 per cent.

Mladost: Ivailo Koukourin (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 36.3 per cent and Yulian Peichev (GERB-UDF) with 16.4 per cent.

Nadezhda: Incumbent Dimitar Dimov (GERB-UDF) with 33.1 per cent and Roumen Dimitrov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 22.7 per cent.

Novi Iskur: Incumbent Daniela Raicheva (GERB-UDF) with 40.5 per cent and Vladislav Vladimirov (independent) with 24.5per cent.

Oborishte: Georgi Kouzmov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 45 per cent and Yoanna Dragneva (GERB-UDF) with 17 per cent.

Ovcha Koupel: Incumbent Angel Stefanov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 33 per cent and Borislav Todorov (GERB-UDF) with 17.4 per cent.

Pancharevo: Evgenia Alexieva (GERB-UDF) with 42.6 per cent and incumbent Nikolai Gyurov (independent) with 18.6 per cent.

Poduyane: Kristiyan Hristov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 27.4 per cent and Petar Mitev (GERB-UDF) with 23.6 per cent.

Serdika: Momchil Daskalov (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 28.3 per cent and incumbent Todor Krustev (GERB-UDF) with 25.5 per cent.

Slatina: Incumbent Georgi Iliev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 46 per cent and Borislav Borissov (GERB-UDF) with 13.8 per cent.

Studentski: Enei Enchev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia) with 30.1 per cent and incumbent Petko Goranov (independent) with 22 per cent.

(Photo: president.bg)

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