Bulgaria′s conservatives cement their power with presidential win | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 31.10.2011
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Bulgaria's conservatives cement their power with presidential win

Bulgaria's presidential election runoff has given victory to center-right candidate Rosen Plevneliev of the GERB party, making things easier for the ruling government.

A woman looks at posters for the GERB party

The result is a boost for Bulgaria's center-right GERB party

Bulgaria's governing center-right GERB party has boosted its power with the victory of its candidate in the country's presidential elections, official results showed Monday.

The GERB candidate Rosen Plevneliev won 52.6 percent of the vote, ahead of the Socialist candidate Ivaylo Kalfin, with 47.4 percent.

"Bulgaria has elected its next president. His name is Rosen Plevneliev," Alpha Research analyst Boryana Dimitrova told state BNT television.

Plevneliev had already gained a commanding lead with 40 percent of the first-round vote a week ago. Kalfin had garnered 29 percent support.

A woman votes with her child

A second round of voting was called when no candidate secured 50 percent of the vote

The second-round vote was required because neither candidate had reached the mandatory 50-percent threshold needed in the first round for an outright win.

The GERB also secured a "convincing victory" in parallel polling for city mayors, tightening its political grip in the country, Dimitrova added.

The party was quick to claim victory. "Of course we won, and very convincingly indeed," said Tsvetan Tsvetanov, election staff chief and the country's interior minister.

Litmus test

A win for GERB could smooth the legislative process for Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Although most of the power in Bulgaria rests with the prime minister and parliament, the president leads the armed forces and can veto legislation and sign international treaties.

While current Socialist President Georgi Parvanov has often criticized the government and used his powers to veto legislation or key appointments, Plevneliev would be unlikely to block bills from Borisov's cabinet.

Rosen Plevneliev

Plevneliev's win makes things easier for the conservatives

Borisov and GERB - Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria - swept to power by promising to stamp out corruption. However few verdicts have been reached in the courts despite several high-profile corruption cases having been opened by the authorities.

Polling stations around Bulgaria were beset with complications in the first vote, as sections of the 6.9 million-strong electorate were unable to vote due to administrative chaos.

As many as 10 percent of the ballots submitted were declared invalid, raising eyebrows by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International and prompting numerous objections.

Authors: Holly Fox, Darren Mara, Richard Connor, (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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