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Bulgaria to hold runoff for presidential elections

Voting in Bulgaria’s presidential and early parliamentary elections closed Sunday.

The country will hold a second round of presidential polls as voter turnout was only 33% and no candidate received more than half the votes, according to unofficial results.

An exit poll by Alpha Research showed that incumbent President Rumen Radev, backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), won 49.1% of the vote and advanced to the second round, which will be held on Nov. 21.

Anastas Gerdzhikov, the rector of Sofia University, who was nominated by former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, will compete with Radev in round two after receiving 26.5% of the vote.

Mustafa Karadayi, head of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party, the only candidate representing ethnic Turks and other Muslims, finished third with 9.8% of the vote.

Parliamentary elections

According to the preliminary results by Alpha Research, six political parties were able to pass the 4% electoral threshold required in the early general elections for the country's 47th term parliament.

Voter turnout in parliamentary elections was 38.9%, according to the first unofficial results.

Borisov's GERB party won 24.8% of the vote, making it the largest group in parliament.

The We Continue the Change (PP) party, founded by the previous caretaker government’s ministers of economy and finance, Kiril Petkov and Asen Vassilev, received strong support and became the second-largest party in parliament with 24.1% of the vote.

The BSP received 13.7% of the vote.

The MRF, the majority of whose members are Turkish, maintained steady support in the polls, becoming the fourth largest party represented in parliament with 10.7% of the vote.

Led by showman Slavi Trifonov, the There Is Such A People (ITN) party -- which narrowly won the country's last early general election on July 11 -- did not garner enough support, receiving only 9.9% of the vote.

The Democratic Bulgaria (DB) party ranked sixth with 7.8%.

Racist and ultra-nationalist parties that remain below the threshold will not find representation in the new parliament.

The Central Election Commission is expected to announce the final results by Nov. 17.


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