Rumen Radev, the candidate of Bulgaria’s opposition Socialist party, narrowly won the first round of the presidential election in Bulgaria with 24.8-26.7 percent of the vote, exit polls by Alpha Research and Gallup International showed on Sunday.
Former air force commander Radev, 53, will face ruling GERB’s party candidate Tsetska Tsacheva in a runoff for the highly ceremonial post of the vote on Nov. 13. Tsacheva scored 23.5-22.5 percent, exit polls said.
This immediately raised the question whether Borissov’s government would resign and open the way for early parliamentary elections. Some months ago, Borissov said he would resign if GERB did not win the presidential elections at the first round. A week ago, he modified this, saying that he would not resign if Tsacheva was in first place at the first round and even if she placed second in a runoff.
The November 6 outcome, if confirmed by official results, means that a November 13 second-round vote becomes mandatory because no candidate scored 50+1 per cent of the vote at the first round.
Voter turnout was seen at 52.4 per cent, according to Alpha Research.
Exit polls showed third place going to Krassimir Karakachanov, of the ultra-nationalist United Patriots electoral coalition, made up of the National Movement for the Salvation of Bulgaria, Volen Siderov’s Ataka and Karakachanov’s VMRO party, at 13.6 per cent.
Fourth was business person Vesselin Mareshki at 8.3 per cent, fifth was minority partner in government the Reformist Bloc’s Traicho Traikov (7.1 per cent), followed by Movement for Rights and Freedoms-backed Plamen Oresharski (6.9 per cent). Socialist breakaway party ABC’s Ivailo Kalfin got 3.8 per cent and Movement 21-NMSP candidate Tatyana Doncheva 2.1 per cent.
The “I don’t support anyone” option got 6.2 per cent of the vote, according to Alpha Research.