Bulgarians are voting today in the second round of the country’s presidential elections which should give the incumbent President Georgi Parvanov a second term. He won two thirds of the vote in the first round. Normally that would have been a win but poor voter turnout meant a second round had to go ahead. Opinion polls say Parvanov will win a second five-year term by a convincing margin for what is a largely ceremonial post.
No minimum turnout is required today. Parvanov is up against Volen Siderov, the leader of the far-right Attack party which opponents say pursues xenophobic, undemocratic and anti-minority policies. The election has highlighted tensions in the country over EU and NATO membership, which Siderov strongly opposes. The far-right’s emergence in this election has also under-scored criticisms that the government has not done enough to tackle poverty, corruption and organised crime.