Crisis-hit Bulgaria to hold presidential vote on Nov 14

Bulgaria’s national flag is seen in front of the parliament building in Sofia. – PHOTO: AP Photo/Petar Petrov, FILE

Bulgaria’s presidential elections will take place on November 14, parliament decided Thursday, as the Balkan country navigates a protracted political crisis that has left it without a government for months.

The EU member state’s president has a largely ceremonial role as head of state and chief commander of the armed forces, but outgoing Socialists-backed President Rumen Radev has seen his profile increase during the crisis.

His popularity shot up after he backed massive anti-corruption rallies last summer against conservative prime minister Boyko Borisov, who headed the country virtually uninterrupted for close to a decade.

A caretaker administration appointed by Radev in May to lead the country until a new government is formed has also proven efficient, further boosting his popularity ratings.

Bulgaria has voted in legislative polls twice so far this year, but both elections have returned fragmented parliaments so that no party has been able to form a government to succeed that of Borisov.

Radev has already announced that he will seek a second five-year term in office.

He has the backing of the Socialists and the anti-establishment ITN party of showman Slavi Trifonov, which came first in the most recent polls in July with just over 24 percent of the votes.

Other parties are yet to announce their candidates.

The Socialists are currently trying to cobble together a coalition after the July parliamentary polls, but it is widely expected this will fail, as have previous attempts by other parties.

Radev is expected to announce shortly a date for a new parliamentary election, which could coincide with the presidential one.

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