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Bulgaria to hold presidential election in November amid political crisis

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
Incumbent Bulgarian President Rumen Radev was elected in 2016.
Incumbent Bulgarian President Rumen Radev was elected in 2016.   -   Copyright  Johanna Geron, Pool via AP
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Bulgaria is to hold the first round of presidential elections in November, despite the ongoing political crisis.

Lawmakers decided on Thursday that Bulgarian citizens will elect their president on November 14.

The vote could even be held on the same date as another parliamentary election, as a fragmented parliament has failed to produce a coalition government.

Votes in April and July have failed to produce a ruling executive, despite calls from incumbent President Rumen Radev.

By law, Bulgaria’s president is elected in a popular vote every five years to the largely ceremonial position.

Incumbent Radev, who was elected in 2016 with the support of the Socialist Party, is hoping to become the first Bulgarian President to retain office since the end of the communist regime.

A fierce opponent of former prime minister Boyko Borissov, Radev has maintained a high public rating in the European Union’s poorest member country.

Amid the ongoing political crisis, Radev also appointed a caretaker cabinet that was praised for its efficiency and action against corruption, which further boosted his popularity.

Bulgaria's presidential election will go to the second round of voting if a first is not decisive. Borissov's conservative GERB party has not yet announced its presidential candidate.

Political fracturing in Bulgaria's parliament has also hampered the country's efforts to tackle a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.