SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarians went to the polls on Sunday to decide on a brand new president in a hotly contested runoff amid a COVID-19 surge and a political disaster that has gripped the European Union’s poorest nation.
Radev, a vocal critic of Borissov and agency supporter of final yr’s anti-corruption protests, goes into the runoff as the favourite after profitable 49.5 % of the votes in the primary spherical on Nov. 14, nicely forward of Gerdzhikov, who gained 22.8%.
Radev, a former air power commander, has attracted many Bulgarians — who’re fed up with politicians they see as corrupt and distanced from the individuals — by appointing two consecutive caretaker governments that unveiled alleged corruption instances in the business and monetary sectors.
The brand new celebration has declared its help for Radev, together with a number of different opponents of Boyko Borissov, together with the Socialist Get together and the anti-elite There’s Such a Individuals celebration.
Gerdzhikov, a professor in historical and mediaeval literature, is supported by Borissov’s GERB celebration and the primarily Turkish Motion for Rights and Freedoms.
A powerful supporter of Bulgaria’s pro-Western orientation, Gerdzhikov has pledged to unite the nation, to enhance the rule of regulation and work for higher enterprise alternatives.
Radev, a former NATO fighter pilot who studied for a time on the U.S. Air Struggle Faculty in Alabama, has pledged to take care of Bulgaria’s place in the Western alliance, if he’s reelected. However he additionally has insisted for pragmatic ties with Russia and that sanctions on Moscow should be lifted.
Throughout a presidential debate final week, Radev stated that the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, was “at the moment Russian.” His remarks prompted protests from the Ukrainian authorities.
About 6.7 million Bulgarians are eligible to vote, however pollsters anticipate lots of them to remain house due to rising concern over a brand new lethal COVID-19 wave.
Preliminary outcomes can be introduced Sunday night time, with the ultimate final result due Monday.