Bulgaria’s candidate from the ruling GERB party has claimed victory in the country’s presidential run-off.
Rosen Plevneliev is a former construction manager and is set to take the top job with around 54 per cent of the vote.
He beats the opposition candidate for the Socialists, Ivailo Kalfin, who polled around 46 per cent.
The win for Plevneliev strengthens the hand of the ruling party ahead of a general election in 2013.
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 try to improve trade.
If the expected official results have him as winner, Plevneliev will take office in January.