Sofia (Bulgaria): The candidate of the
ruling right-wing GERB party Rosen Plevneliev was elected
Bulgaria`s next president in a run-off today, early exit poll
The popular former construction minister won the
second-round vote with between 54.8 and 57 per cent, ahead of
Socialist candidate and European deputy Ivaylo Kalfin who took
between 43 and 45.2 per cent, according to exit polls by the
MBMD, Sova Harris, Gallup and Alpha Research institutes.
"Bulgaria has elected its next president. His name is
Rosen Plevneliev," Alpha Research analyst Boryana Dimitrova
told state BNT television.
Though pollsters were yet to conduct their re-counts
and official results were not expected until later Sunday,
Dimitrova was categorical that "the distance between the two
cannot be bridged."
GERB had also won a "convincing victory" in the
parallel run-offs for local mayors in all the main cities,
tightening their grip on all major powers in the 6.9 million
country, Dimitrova added.
The party was also quick to claim its election win,
with Interior Minister and election staff chief Tsvetan
Tsvetanov saying: "Of course we won and very convincingly
Plevneliev, 47, who entered politics from the
construction business just two years ago, quickly became
GERB`s most popular minister.
He won praise for his efforts to renovate the
country`s ageing infrastructure and kickstart key highway
construction projects with funds secured through European
Union development grants.
Analysts have however voiced concern that the
inexperienced politician may simply rubber stamp proposals
backed by Bulgaria`s powerful Prime Minister Boyko Borisov,
who pushed Plevneliev to run for the presidency and campaigned
on his behalf.
The Bulgarian presidency, which carries a five-year
term, is largely a ceremonial post with limited powers.
Once he takes office in late January, Plevneliev, will
become the country`s commander-in-chief and will also have the
ability to veto legislation.