Today: Monday, 15 April 2024 year

Bulgarians vote in third election round as infections surge

Bulgarians vote in third election round as infections surge

Bulgaria continues to elect a new president and a new parliament amid a surge of the COVID-19 cases. In Sunday’s presidential election, a total of 23 candidates are running for the largely ceremonial post, ABC News reports.

As Sunday polls showed, some 6.7 million eligible voters hope that after inconclusive general elections in April and July, the 3rd attempt to elect 240 MPs will result in a government to lead the EU’s weakest economy. In addition, the health crisis showed that Bulgaria still needs assistance to cope with the pandemic.

The Balkan country remains one of the least vaccinated in the European Union. As of Sunday, less than one-third of the Bulgarian adults fully vaccinated. This weekend, the country reported 334 COVID-related deaths this week in a single day, the country’s highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

As the analysts say, the low turnout would favour the former ruling GERB party that despite a further erosion in support can still count on many loyal voters, and it is likeliest to finish first. Meantime, a new party We Continue the Change was founded only few weeks ago by two Harvard graduates, Kiril Petkov, 41, and Asen Vasilev, 44. The party will come in second and likely be at the core of a new government.

Incumbent Rumen Radev, a firm supporter of last year’s anti-corruption protests, is tipped to have good chances to win a second five-year term. Polls suggest that Radev will win slightly under the 50% needed for an outright victory in the first round.

If so, there will be a runoff vote on Nov. 21, most likely against his main contestant for the post — Anastas Gerdzhikov, a university professor.