Sofia, Nov 21 (EFE).- Over 13,000 polling booths in Bulgaria opened at 7 am on Sunday for the presidential runoff elections, with over 6.6 million registered voters.
Incumbent Rumen Radev, favorite in the opinion polls, is facing a challenge from the rector of the Sofia University, Anastas Gerdzikov.
Radev, a former air force officer who has been in office since 2016, is clear favorite after winning 49.42 percent of the votes in the first round of elections on Nov. 14.
The acting president, who was backed by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BPS) in 2016 elections, has been the main political rival of conservative former prime minister Boyko Borisov, who has dominated Bulgarian politics since 2009.
Radev backed protests against the Borisov government in 2020 and called him a mafia boss, which helped him secure the support of groups that were formed during the movement
He has received support from a number of opposition parties, including “We Continue the Change,” which received the highest votes in the parliamentary elections on Nov. 14 on an anti corruption plank.
The recently-formed party is holding negotiations with two other parties that had joined the protests along with the BPS to form a government and bring the country out of the political deadlock.
Radev’s main opponent Gerdzhikov, a professor of classical literature, does not have much political experience.
Although he contested as an independent, Gerdzhikov has been supported by Borisov’s Conservative Party and received 22.83 percent of the votes in the first round.
The president’ post in Bulgaria has mainly representative functions, but enjoys a considerable influence in national politics due to the ability to veto laws.
Polling booths are set to remain open until 8 pm on Sunday, after which the exit polls are set to announce preliminary trends EFE