Saturday

15th Aug 2020

Pro-Russian candidates win in Bulgaria and Moldova

  • Bulgarian PM Borisov said he would quit if his presidential candidate lost (Photo: European People's Party)

Russian-friendly candidates won elections on Sunday (13 November) in Bulgaria and Moldova.

Bulgaria was thrown into political uncertainty after prime minister Boyko Borisov quit following the bruising defeat his presidential candidate suffered at the hands of the opposition Socialist candidate Rumen Radev.

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Borisov had backed centre-right parliamentary speaker Tsetska Tsacheva, who received only 36 percent in Sunday's run-off vote.

A political outsider and former commander of the country's Air Force, Radev won with more than 59 percent of the votes.

Commentators said his landslide win came as a result of anger with government policies and corruption.

Critics fear it could tilt Bulgaria towards Russia's power orbit.

"The results clearly show that the ruling coalition no longer holds the majority," Borisov, who was re-elected in 2014 for a second time, said on Sunday.

Radev said earlier that he would keep Bulgaria in Nato, but claimed that "being pro-European does not mean being anti-Russian".

"It's a victory for all Bulgarian people. Democracy has beaten apathy and fear today," he said on state TV after being elected to the largely ceremonial role.

Radev in his victory speech reiterated his support for lifting EU sanctions on Russia and also praised new US president-elect Donald Trump for "seeking more dialogue" with Russian president Vladimir Putin, AFP reported.

He is likely to call early parliamentary elections next spring.

Moldova derailed?

Nearby Moldova was also set to elect a pro-Russian president on Sunday.

Presidential candidate Igor Dodon has declared victory in the presidential run-off vote in the former Soviet republic.

Early results showed that the Socialist candidate won 54 percent, while pro-European Maia Sandu received less than 45 percent of the votes.

Sanduhas has called for the withdrawal of thousands of Russian troops from the Russian-speaking separatist region of Transnistria, which broke away in the 1990s.

Dodon's win is partly the result of a loss of trust in the pro-European government, which was plunged into political and economic crisis after a corruption scandal in 2014.

Moldova also signed a EU association agreement in 2014, but its European integration could be in derailed, as Dodon advocated for stronger ties with Russia.

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Boyko Borissov says he will resign if his ally Tsetska Tsacheva is beaten in the second round of presidential elections.

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Bulgaria remains mired in corruption, with most of its citizens having lost faith in their judicial system despite nine years of EU monitoring and pressure.

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The apparent pro-Russia leanings of Bulgaria's next leader, Rumen Radev, have dominated headlines. But his first major challenges will be to install a government and attempt to promote anti-corruption reforms.

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