Bulgaria goes to the polls on Sunday 22 October to elect the president who will bring the former communist country into the European Union in January. Polls show that current President Georgi Parvanov, a respected diplomat who was central to Bulgaria’s EU efforts, will probably win re-election.
His main rival is Volen Siderov, the leader of the nationalist Attack party. He has pledged to disband the ruling ethnic-Turkish MRF party if elected. Parvanov’s re-election is also being challenged by Nedelcho Beronov, a political dark horse who has promised to call early parliamentary elections and topple the socialist-led government if elected.
This will be the fourth presidential election for the mountainous Black Sea nation since the adoption of the new Bulgarian Constitution in 1992. The winner of this election will hold the honour of presiding over Bulgaria’s entry into the EU. In so doing, he will also carry the hopes of some 3.8 million Bulgarians who still live below the 2 euros per day poverty line. With an economic output of one third the EU average, Bulgaria will be the EU’s poorest member upon entry.