Outgoing President Roumen Radev widely re-elected in Bulgaria | Local Business News

Outgoing President Roumen Radev widely re-elected in Bulgaria
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Bulgaria, the poorest country in Europe, re-elected its outgoing president Roumen Radev on Sunday. This figure in the fight against corruption was the big favorite. He won 66% of the vote, according to the latest estimates. The official results will be known on Monday.

Outgoing President Roumen Radev largely won in the second round of the elections on Sunday in Bulgaria, an expected victory which reinforces the anti-corruption movement engaged in negotiations to form a government and get out of the political crisis.

Supported by several so-called “change” parties, this 58-year-old former fighter pilot and ex-chief of the armed forces won 66% of the vote, according to new counts from polling institutes. The first official results will not be known until Monday.

His opponent Anastas Guerdjikov, who presented himself with the support of the conservative party Gerb of ex-Prime Minister Boïko Borissov, is credited with 32% of the vote. The rector of Sofia University quickly admitted defeat, accusing “the entire state apparatus of having worked for the incumbent president”.

The poll was taking place in the midst of the murderous wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Less than 25% of the 6.9 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated, mortality is one of the highest in the world and dilapidated hospitals are overwhelmed.

In this parliamentary republic of the Balkans, it is the government which defines the policy, the president having an essentially ceremonial role.

But Roumen Radev, a novice when he won in 2016, has given the function another dimension and has established himself over the years as a key figure in the political game. He was supported by a wide range of parties and organizations.

His re-election reinforces the anti-corruption movement which won the legislative elections a week ago and engaged in negotiations to form a government.

“The two ballots have combined to break with looting, arbitrariness, the eradication of the mafia in power”, welcomed Roumen Radev: “Bulgaria is emerging from the doldrums”.

Everything now depends on the negotiations led by Kiril Petkov, an entrepreneur in his forties who owes his fame to Roumen Radev and is running for the post of Prime Minister. He called to vote for the one “who started the change”.

Anti Corruption

“Let us take our destiny in hand, do not let others undermine our future,” he said on Sunday while voting.

A week after the legislative elections which gave the victory to a young anti-corruption party, it is a question of transforming the test, according to Kiril Petkov, who is running for the post of Prime Minister.

“The choice of the president will influence all the development of Bulgaria”, he insisted, after calling this week to vote for the one “who started the change”.

In the summer of 2020, Roumen Radev clearly sided with the demonstrators demanding the resignation of conservative Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Then, after the April 4 elections which sealed the fall of his sworn enemy but led to a political impasse, the General of the Air Force once again found himself in full light.

He chose new faces to compose the interim government, which gained wide popularity for uncovering corrupt practices of the Borisov era.

24% participation at 4 p.m.

And these are two ex-ministers of this team who won the legislative ballot at the head of their new formation, “Let’s continue the change”.

Kiril Petkov and his sidekick, Assen Vassilev, this week began negotiations to get out of a crisis unprecedented since the end of the communist regime.

In the capital Sofia, voters confided their desire for a “new start”.

“Everything is going wrong. I want this to change for my children, grandchildren and former students,” retired teacher Dobrinka Nakova, who took to the streets last year, told AFP.

But most Bulgarians were reluctant after already three elections this year: according to the Election Commission, the turnout was 24% at 4:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. GMT), down sharply compared to 2016.

“General red”

Hailed by many for his role in the marginalization of Boïko Borissov after a decade in power, Roumen Radev is accused by his detractors of overstepping his duties and of “taking sides”.

“The president’s role is to unite the nation, not to divide it,” said his second-round opponent Anastas Guerdjikov, who had collected less than 23% last Sunday.

The rector of Sofia University, also 58, is running with the support of Gerb, Boyko Borisov’s party. He can also count on the Turkish minority party MDL.

Anastas Guerdjikov also attacked his rival, former general of the air force, on his supposed pro-Russian sympathies, which had earned him the nickname of “red general”.

“Russia cannot be our model of development, but neither can it be our enemy,” replied this president, close to the Socialists.

The political scientist Yevgeny Daynov calls for not making a mistake in the debate. The priority, including from the right, must be to block the road to the candidate supported by Gerb / MDL, two movements considered inseparable from the corruption that plagues the country, he believes. “It’s a question of national survival.”

During his mandate, Rouen Radev qualified his positions and “is no longer considered the man of Moscow”, analysts say.

“The classic axes of division in Bulgaria – East-West, right / left – have been overtaken by a new axis common to all the elections this year”: the fed up after 10 years of Borissov era, summed up the political scientist Antony Todorov from the New Bulgarian University.

With AFP

Outgoing President Roumen Radev widely re-elected in Bulgaria
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Gérard Truchon

An experienced journalist in internal and global political affairs, she tackles political issues from all sides

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