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Bulgaria: GERB defeats convincingly Socialists in mayors tally

31. October 2011. | 11:09

Source: Novinite.com

Bulgaria's ruling center-right GERB party managed to tighten its grip on power following the presidential and local election run-offs on October 30.

Bulgaria's ruling center-right GERB party managed to tighten its grip on power following the presidential and local election run-offs on October 30.

The party of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov emerged as the biggest winner in the final tally of mayors elected in Bulgaria's 27 regional capitals – it won 14 of the cities and towns that serve as administrative centres of Bulgaria's regions though by very slim margins, at times even about 1%, exit polls show.

The biggest win for the ruling party was to retain the Black Sea port of Varna, where the nominee it backed Kiril Yordanov was re-elected for a fourth term in office.

The other key battleground – the second-biggest town of Plovdiv - witnessed a heated neck-to-neck battle for the mayoral post in the run-off elections on Sunday, which eventually led to the victory of the ruling party candidate, according to exit poll results.

Ivan Totev, current district governor, nominated by the ruling center-right party GERB, managed to unseat incumbent mayor Slavcho Atanasov, who received 49% of the votes against his rival's 51%, the first exit polls showed, but analysts warned that a dramatic U-turn in the figures is not ruled out.

GERB party managed to retain their power in several towns considered until recently as strongholds of the Socialists, including Stara Zagora and Blagoevgrad. Borisov's nominees made a breakthrough there and turned upside down the sentiments of the electorate for the first time four year ago, during the local elections in 2007.

The other "blue" cities are Veliko Tarnovo, Pleven, Russe, Silistra, Smolyan, Stara Zagora and Yambol.

At the first round of the elections on October 23, GERB-backed nominees imposed themselves in Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo and the capital Sofia.

The Socialist runners and independent nominees backed by the party, previously a senior partner in the ruling three-way coalition, came out victorious from the mayoral battle in 6 of the cities and towns that serve as administrative centres of Bulgaria's regions.

In a lackluster reminder of their past glory days on the country's political scene the Socialists took the country's smaller cities such as Lovech, Pernik, Vratsa and Sliven, where their runner beat football legend and controversial mayor Yordan Lehckov.

Socialist-backed nomineed also won Shumen, Kyustendil, Montana.

The opposition ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), previously a junior partner in the ruling three-way coalition, won only one major town - their stronghold of Kardzhali, where the incumbent was re-elected in the first round of voting.

Despite its strength in rural areas, the Socialists secured fewer municipal councillors and mayors. Conversely the ruling GERB got a bigger chunk of the popular vote, thanks to its stronger showing in urban areas, and capital Sofia in particular.

Analysts have commented voters in Bulgaria's local and presidential elections have given a thumbs-up to the status quo even thought the approval rating of the ruling party has dropped from some 40% when it took power two years ago to about 30%.

If the same figures were recorded at the next parliamentary polls, GERB would see its mandate reinforced.

DETAILED INFO about the election results READ IN THE Presidential and Local Elections 2011 SECTION


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31. October - 06. November 2011.