Vassil Terziev, elected as mayor of Sofia in a second-round victory on November 5, took the oath of office on November 13.
Terziev, nominated by We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria-Spasi Sofia, won 48.2 per cent of the vote in the second round, defeating Vanya Grigorova, nominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and a gaggle of extra-parliamentary communist, Russophile and nationalist parties, who got 46.89 per cent.
In the second round, 4.91 per cent who went to the polls chose the “I don’t support anyone” option.
Terziev, an entrepreneur with no previous experience in politics, succeeds GERB’s Yordanka Fandukova, who did not seek re-election after 14 years in office. Fandukova was the Bulgarian capital city’s longest-serving mayor and the first woman to hold the post.
The new mayor told the city councillors, who also took the oath of office at the ceremony: “Yesterday we were political opponents, today we are already on one side – that of Sofia”.
“We are on the side of Sofia, which means being wise in looking for long-term solutions for the city, solutions that unite us, not divide us. This is longer than one term of office, this dream that unites us for Sofia to be a modern, progressive, secure European city,” Terziev said.
It remains unclear whether a permanent ruling majority will be formed in Sofia city council, as it was unclear what would become of the election of a council chairperson.
In the 61-seat city council, WCC-DB has 23 seats, GERB-UDF 14, the Bulgarian Socialist Party nine, pro-Kremlin party Vuzrazhdane eight, populist ITN and right-wing formation KOD three each, and nationalist party VMRO one.
GERB-UDF has indicated it will be in opposition, and it was seen as improbable that the BSP would participate in a ruling majority with WCC-DB. Grigorova is contesting the Sofia mayoral election in court. She failed in a court bid to get Terziev’s swearing-in postponed pending the outcome of her court action.
There were four nominations for council chairperson: Boris Bonev (WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia), Diana Tonova (BSP), Krassimir Gulubov (Vuzrazhdane) and Plamen Danailov (ITN). GERB-UDF, given that it has said that it intends to be in opposition, did not nominate a candidate.
Voting at the November 13 meeting failed to produce a council chairperson, and the matter was postponed to the council’s next meeting, on November 20. GERB-UDF councillors abstained from voting.
WCC-DB-Spasi Sofia city councillor Boiko Dimitrov told Bulgarian National Television on the morning of November 13 that they had sent an invitation to all groups in the council for talks, but most had turned them down.
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