Bulgaria’s incumbent President Rumen Radev is leading in the first round of the country’s presidential elections, while the GERB-UDF coalition and Continue the Change coalition are neck-and-neck in the parliamentary polls.
Bulgarians went to the polls on Sunday to elect a President and a National Assembly. As many as 23 candidates were in the fray for the post of President, while 20 parties and seven coalitions were contesting in the parliamentary elections, reports Xinhua news agency
According to Alpha Research, one of the leading agencies for social and political research in Bulgaria, Radev, who is backed by several parties, is expected to have 49.1 per cent of the valid votes, while another exit poll conducted by Gallup International showed that he would get 49.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, Alpha Research said that 26.5 per cent of the votes went to Anastas Gerdjikov, supported by GERB party, while Gallup International said 24.9 per cent of voters cast their ballots for Gerdjikov.
The two exit polls showed that Mustafa Karadayi, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, came third with 9.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent of the votes respectively.
The voter turnout was 38.4 percent and 36.9 percent, according to Alpha Research and Gallup International, respectively.
To be elected in the first round, a candidate had to receive more than 50 per cent of the votes, provided that more than half of all eligible voters have cast their ballots in the election.
The official results are expected to be released on Tuesday, and the runoff between the two top candidates is to be held next Sunday.
A Bulgarian President is elected directly by the people for a period of five years. Radev’s term will expire at the end of January 2022.
Meanwhile in the parliamentary elections, an Alpha Research exit poll revealed that the GERB-UDF is expected to have 24.8 per cent of the votes, against 24.1 per cent for Continue the Change.
The exit poll by Gallup International said that Continue the Change is leading the elections with 25.8 per cent, while GERB-UDF takes 23.5 percent.
Alpha Research said the two formations would be followed by a coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) with 13.7 per cent, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 10.7 per cent, There Is Such A People (ITN) party with 9.9 per cent, and Democratic Bulgaria coalition with 7.8 per cent.
According to Gallup International, BSP has got 14.4 per cent of the votes, followed by MRF with 10.2 per cent, ITN with 8.1 per cent, Democratic Bulgaria with 7.0 per cent, and another party which has managed to overcome the 4 per cent threshold to enter the 240-seat parliament — Revival party, with 4.3 per cent.
The official results, including the distribution of seats, are expected to be released on Thursday.
The National Assembly is Bulgaria’s legislative body. It also elects the government by a simple majority, and has a four-year term — except in certain circumstances such as when it is unable to elect a government.
This is the third parliamentary elections this year.
Bulgarians went to the polls for the first time on April 4, after a four-year rule by a coalition government dominated by the GERB party.
However, the parties didn’t elect a government, and early elections were held on July 11 — but with the same outcome.