Bulgaria’s presidential run-off has been won by Rosen Plevneliev, the ruling conservative party candidate.
Preliminary official results show he polled 52 per cent. His Socialist rival Ivailo Kalfin won 47.4 per cent.
The victory will likely strengthen Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s hand before a 2013 general election in the EU’s poorest country.
Although most of the power in Bulgaria rests with the prime minister and parliament, the president leads the armed forces and can veto legislation and sign international treaties.
Plevneliev says he will pursue reforms in the judicial and healthcare systems while also trying to improve trade.