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Bulgaria to Hold Presidential, Local Vote Together in 2011

Date: 04.07.2010

Bulgaria's presidential elections will be held together with the local vote next year, most probably in October, officials from the ruling party have announced.

“The presidential and local elections will be held on one and the same day next year,” Iskra Fidosova, co-chair of the parliamentary group of the ruling GERB party and head of the legal commission in parliament, told the Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday.

The issue has proved highly controversial in Bulgaria with proponents, including the ruling party, saying they merging the two votes will be more cost efficient and good for the turnout.

The second term of the current Socialist President Georgi Parvanov expires next year and he does not have the right to run for a third term.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister and ruling party leader Boyko Borisov said in May that his center-right ruling party GERB will nominate Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov for the upcoming presidential vote in 2011.

Later however he added that the candidature is open to discussions, while analysts were quick to accuse him of trying to divert attention from the economic crisis plaguing the country.

Bulgaria nationalist leader Volen Siderov has also said he is determined to run again for the high, though largely ceremonial, office.

Bulgaria's leftist President Georgi Parvanov made history on October 29, 2006 for he became the first head of state to be re-elected after a defeat of nationalist leader Volen Siderov with a record-high 75% of the votes.

Parvanov's victory may have been easy and predictable, but was preceded by an embarrassing run-off with nationalist Volen Siderov.

Experts played down Siderov's showing but he dealt a heavy blow to all mainstream parties, which was widely described as an aggression against the status quo, the end of Bulgaria's much-famed ethnic model and a breakthrough in the presidency.

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