Bul­garia in tur­moil after PM quits over pro-Rus­sia pres­i­dent

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EURO­PEAN Union mem­ber Bul­garia faced an uncer­tain fu­ture yes­ter­day after cen­tre-right Prime Min­is­ter Boyko Borisov quit fol­low­ing the crush­ing de­feat of his pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee at the hands of a Moscow-friendly gen­eral backed by the So­cial­ist op­po­si­tion.

Crit­ics fear the sur­prise win could tilt ex-com­mu­nist Bul­garia, which has long walked a tightrope be­tween Moscow and Brus­sels, to­wards Rus­sia’s or­bit – a trend seen across east­ern and cen­tral Europe amid ris­ing euroscep­ti­cism.

“The re­sults clearly show that the rul­ing coali­tion no longer holds the ma­jor­ity,” the premier said.

The an­nounce­ment came shortly after pro­jec­tions showed that ex-air force chief and po­lit­i­cal novice Ru­men Radev had swept close to 60 per­cent of bal­lots.

Mr Borisov’s nom­i­nee ex-par­lia­ment speaker Tset­ska Tsacheva ob­tained just over 35pc, in what an­a­lysts calls a “cat­a­strophic de­feat”.

De­spite promised re­forms, graft and poverty re­main rife in the EU’s poor­est mem­ber state, while pub­lic anger has also grown over thou­sands of mi­grants cur­rently stranded in Bul­garia.

The Bul­gar­ian pres­i­dent’s role is largely cer­e­mo­nial but the in­cum­bent is none­the­less a re­spected fig­ure and com­man­derin-chief of the armed forces.

Mr Radev is due to take of­fice on Jan­uary 22 for a five-year term. His first job will likely be to call early elec­tions in spring next year. His vic­tory sig­nals a change of di­rec­tion from out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Rosen Plevneliev, a strong critic of Moscow.

Mr Plevneliev warned that Rus­sia was try­ing to “desta­bilise Europe” by fi­nanc­ing anti-EU ul­tra-na­tion­al­ists in Balkan states in­clud­ing in Bul­garia. –

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