Bulgarian Presidential Favorite Faces Head-to-Head BattleViews on BG | October 24, 2011, Monday // 13:55| views
Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
Bulgaria's center-right party candidate Rosen Plevneliev is set for a head-to-head battle for the presidency after failing to win a majority in first-round elections. However, he still looks likely to be the winner.
Exit polls from Bulgaria's presidential elections on Sunday showed that, despite a clear lead for the ruling center-right GERB party candidate Rosen Plevneliev, the contest was set to head for a second round.
Plevneliev, a former construction minister, appeared to have garnered between 39.4 and 41.1 percent support according to exit polls.
His Socialist rival Ivaylo Kalfin was in second place with 26.7 to 30 percent of the vote, while Bulgaria's former European commissioner Meglena Kuneva,who ran as an independent, trailed in third place with 14 to 17 percent of the vote.
The failure of any of the candidates to secure an outright majority automatically sends the two top contenders on a second-round runoff on October 30.
"I did not expect such strong support," Plevneliev told Bulgarian television station bTV, while pledging to be a "deserving, independent and non-partisan" if he were elected head of state.
Analysts predicted that Plevneliev will win easily in the runoff, if official counts confirm a first-round lead of 10 percent. It is believed that the 47-year-old would have faced a far tougher election fight if Kuneva had reached the runoff.
Socialist President Georgy Parvanov was unable to run again after two successive terms in office.
A Plevneliev victory would smooth the way for the current government to proceed with efforts to introduce austerity cuts without damaging growth. Four years after joining the EU, monthly salaries in Bulgaria remain at around 700 leva (360 euros, 0) with unemployment in September standing at 9.4 percent.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!