Bulgaria in turmoil after PM quits over pro-Russia president
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. –